After Monday Night Football between the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints, we’re up to five coaches fined by the NFL over its mask policy. Jon Gruden and Sean Payton join three others on that ignominious list.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini broke the news that Gruden and Payton joined the Denver Broncos’ Vic Fangio, Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, and San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan in getting slapped on the wrist this week. Each coach has been fined $100,000 by the league. Their franchises will pay $250,000 on top of it.
“I’ve had the virus,” Gruden said after Monday night’s game, when asked about his inconsistent mask wearing. The veteran coach often had it around his chin during the game.
“I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I apologize,” Jon Gruden added. “If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine.”
Now it’s $100,000 fines for Sean Payton and Jon Gruden for not wearing masks last night, and $250,000 fines for their teams. In all, five HCs and teams fined over $1.7 million dollars for not wearing masks in Week 2. pic.twitter.com/Fuk98rQO4W
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 22, 2020
The NFL has undertaken a serious testing regimen in order to execute the 2020-21 season. So far, things have gone well, with zero positive tests before Week 1 and Week 2 of the season so far.
While the league hasn’t gone into a full bubble, like the NBA and NHL did to complete their seasons, and the MLB—which struggled with outbreaks early in its shortened season—will for the postseason, the 32 teams have pretty effectively created their own bubbles from week to week. It may not be a perfect solution, and there is always the risk for an outbreak, but so far so good for the league.
That may raise questions about the necessity for coaches to wear masks on the field, but it is hard to blame the league for trying to be as safe as possible given the circumstances. Football coaches are notoriously sticklers for rule following and attention to detail. Hopefully Gruden, Sean Payton, and the rest of the league’s coaches figure out how to deal with this throughout the season.