The NFL is taking mask wearing very seriously this season, with the league mandating that coaches wear some sort of face coverings during games. So far, participation has been a mixed bag, including during last night’s home debut for Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders.
Ahead of the Monday Night Football game, the NFL announced fines for a trio of high-profile coaches and their franchises. Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio, Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, and San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan all got hit with $100,000 fines for lax mask wearing. Their teams were hit with $250,000 fines as well.
Last night, Gruden was often caught on camera with his face covering down around his chin. Play callers are permitted to pull their masks down while calling plays, but have to have them on otherwise. Jon Gruden said he is “doing his best,” and is trying to follow the rules, especially considering the fact that he had COVID-19 during the offseason.
“I’ve had the virus,” he said after the Las Vegas Raiders win, per the AP’s Josh Dubow. “I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine.”
Jon Gruden on not wearing his mask: "I'm doing my best. I've had the virus. I'm doing my best. I'm very sensitive about it. I'm calling the plays. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine."
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) September 22, 2020
There have been some debate over the necessity of NFL coaches wearing masks on the sideline, given the fact that everyone is tested before games, and the league has had a lot of success preventing the spread of the virus so far. Right now, it is the law of the land though, and if nothing else, it sets a good example for the rest of the country.
A number of studies have shown that mask wearing has a significant impact on stopping the impact of the virus, especially in places like New York which reduced transmission by around 70-percent once the mandate went into effect according to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Hopefully this isn’t much of an issue going forward.