NFL Heavily Fines Coaches For Not Wearing Masks

After a bevy of NFL head coaches were shown without masks during Week 1, the NFL issued a league wide memo warning of ramifications if the behavior continued.

The league kept its wording then some in Week 2, fining Vic Fangio, Pete Carroll, and Kyle Shanahan $100,000. The Broncos, Seahawks, and 49ers had to pay an additional $250,000 in fines.

Jon Gruden and Sean Payton were frequently seen on Monday Night Football without masks, making them susceptible to a fine as well.

The NFL’s warning offered specifics on how the face mask must be worn:

“The NFL-NFLPA (Players Association) gameday protocol, which reflects the advice of infectious disease experts, club medical staffs and local and state governmental regulations, requires all individuals with bench area access [including coaches and members of the club medical staff] to wear face coverings at all times.

“Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs. The face covering must be worn as designed so that it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of the virus.”

The league has taken strict measures to prevent the spread of Covid, including investing a hefty $75 million in rapid result tests. (A number that has now increased given that the league is sticking to daily testing for the season.) Early results have been encouraging. The last report, released for the week ending September 12th, included only two positive tests for players and five for other personnel out of 40,479 tests. There were no positive tests prior to the Week 2 slate despite increased travel.

Optics are also tantamount to the NFL and no one is shown during an NFL television broadcast more than the head coach.

While Gruden’s famous faces were visible during the Raiders’ enthralling 34-24 over New Orleans on Monday Night Football, he seemed to remember the mask rule in the aftermath.

No word on what the NFL will do with the fine money once collected but here’s an idea: invest in rapid Covid tests for nursing homes, meatpackers, farmers, teachers or any other sector full of essential workers.