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#pounditThursday, December 2, 2021

Articles tagged: coronavirus

NFL makes further changes to COVID-19 protocols

Roger Goodell

The NFL is further strengthening its protocols to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks around the league.

Among the new protocols put in place are restrictions on weekly tryouts and a ban on gatherings outside club facilities. The league even plans to use video to ensure that the protocols are being adhered to.

The changes come on the heels of a week that saw the Tennessee Titans suffer an outbreak, which forced the postponement of their game against Pittsburgh. The league does not want to see that happen again.

How serious is the NFL when it comes to enforcing the policies? Just ask the Las Vegas Raiders.

Raiders players fined for attending fundraiser without masks

Raiders logo

Several members of the Las Vegas Raiders can tell you just how serious the NFL is about enforcing its COVID-19 safety protocols.

Raiders tight end Darren Waller was fined $30,000 and several other players were fined $15,000 after recently appearing at a fundraiser without wearing masks. Waller’s fine was largest, likely because he was the one hosting the event. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport added that quarterback Derek Carr was one of the other players fined.

The NFL took notice when photos and videos from the event showed Raiders players being introduced while not wearing masks. Owner Mark Davis noticed as well, and was critical of the players.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to restrict players from attending any event that violates state or local restrictions. The agreement also included players avoiding indoor concerts, music or entertainment events. They have further agreed to restrict players from visiting bars or night clubs with 10-or-more people and without wearing a mask. Players are also not supposed to attend house gatherings with more than 15 people and without wearing a mask.

This isn’t the first time the Raiders have been fined for violating those requirements. Perhaps the message will get through now.

NFL reportedly discussing playoff bubble following coronavirus cases

Roger Goodell

The NFL has already postponed one game and had players test positive for the coronavirus on multiple teams, which has led to talk of potentially needing a bubble plan going forward. That is still on the table, at least for the playoffs.

Discussions about playing games in a postseason bubble have picked up for the NFL internally, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. The most viable plan would involve the two conference championship games being played in a hub city.

While the idea of a playoff bubble has gained traction with the NFL’s competition committee, there are some within the NFL league office that are not excited about it. The NFL Players Association also did not want to pursue the bubble concept prior to the season, though the two sides are expected to discuss it again at some point.

The Tennessee Titans had a COVID-19 outbreak this week, which resulted in their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers being postponed until later in the season. Patriots quarterback Cam Newton also tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, so New England’s game against the Chiefs has been moved to Monday night at 7 p.m. EST. No additional positive coronavirus tests had been returned from the Patriots as of Sunday morning, and the game will be played Monday if that holds true on Monday morning.

Major League Baseball had teams host regular-season games at their home cities but has moved to a bubble plan for the postseason. Players have already expressed some concerns with MLB’s setup.

Patriots-Chiefs game postponed due to positive coronavirus tests

Roger Goodell

Cam Newton’s positive COVID-19 test result means the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will not play as scheduled.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs game, which was scheduled to kick off at 4:25 p.m., will not be played as scheduled. In a statement, the NFL said it aims to play the game Monday or Tuesday. Schefter says Tuesday is more likely.

The Chiefs are also facing COVID-19 questions. According to Ian Rapoport of, Kansas City practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has tested positive as well. Ta’amu previously had served as the Chiefs’ Lamar Jackson imitator during practices, and may have played the same role with the Chiefs preparing for Newton during this week’s practices.

Much will depend on further testing for both teams. For now, no further Patriots players have tested positive since Newton’s positive test, but that does not mean New England’s players are out of the woods.

Cam Newton tests positive for coronavirus, will not play Sunday

Cam Newton

The New England Patriots will not have their starting quarterback on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. He will be placed on the COVID-19/reserve list and miss Sunday’s game. Schefter added that, for now, there is no indication that the virus has spread to any of Newton’s teammates.

It’s a significant blow for the Patriots in what was expected to be an exciting matchup between two of the game’s most electric quarterbacks. New England will have to choose between Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer to start in Newton’s place.

Newton’s positive test comes on the same weekend as another game was postponed due to a separate outbreak. There was no initial word on how Newton was feeling or whether he was symptomatic.

NFL announces new coronavirus testing plan, bye week policy

Roger Goodell

The NFL is expanding its coronavirus testing program in response to multiple members of the Tennessee Titans organization contracting COVID-19 this week.

On Friday, the NFL and NFL Players Association reached an agreement to extend the league’s daily coronavirus testing program indefinitely. There was previously a plan in place where daily testing would end if the positive test rate fell below a certain threshold, but daily testing will now continue regardless. The policy also calls for players and coaches to remain in their home cities during by weeks.

Two more Titans players tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total to seven players and six other members of the organization. The Minnesota Vikings, who hosted the Titans last Sunday, have not returned any positive tests.

Sunday’s game between the Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed until later in the season, making this week a bye week for the two teams. At least one player has expressed frustration over the way the situation has been handled.

NFL looking into Raiders players not wearing masks at charity event

Raiders logo

The Las Vegas Raiders have already received a substantial fine after head coach Jon Gruden failed to properly wear his mask on the sideline, and several of their players could now be in hot water for violating coronavirus protocols.

Roughly 10 Raiders players attended a charity event held by tight end Darren Waller on Monday night, and photos and videos from the event showed them mingling with fans while not wearing masks. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the NFL and NFL Players Association are looking into the situation.

As Pelissero mentioned, any disciplinary action would come from the team. That would likely be in the form of fines, if anything.

Gruden was asked about the event this week, and he defended the job the Raiders have done in following coronavirus protocols. He also praised his players for helping to raise over $300,000 for a charitable cause.

Raiders owner Mark Davis was openly critical of players for not wearing their masks.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to restrict players from attending any event that violates state or local restrictions. The agreement also included players avoiding indoor concerts, music or entertainment events. They have further agreed to restrict players from visiting bars or night clubs with 10-or-more people and without wearing a mask. Players are also not supposed to attend house gatherings with more than 15 people and without wearing a mask.

The NFL has been taking coronavirus restrictions seriously. Gruden is one of five coaches who have been fined for not wearing masks at all times during games, and he responded by wearing this on his face last weekend.

It’s unclear if the Raiders plan to discipline any of the players who attended Waller’s event.

NFL threatens suspensions, loss of draft picks for coaches not wearing masks

Jon Gruden

The NFL has fined multiple head coaches through the first three weeks of the season for not wearing face coverings at all times on the sideline during games, and the league says the penalties could become much more harsh going forward.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL sent another strongly-worded memo to teams this week urging them to comply with all coronavirus-related protocols on game day. Failure to do so may result in suspensions or the loss of draft picks.

Five NFL head coaches and their respective teams have already been fined a combined total of nearly $2 million. The fines could continue to increase if the same coaches violate the protocols, but teams will almost certainly take the policy more seriously if suspensions are possible and draft picks are at stake.

Jon Gruden is one coach who has repeatedly violated the mask rules by taking his mask off during games. After he was fined last week, he responded by wearing this thing on his face.

Steelers-Titans game postponed due to positive coronavirus tests

Roger Goodell

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans will not play on Sunday after multiple players and personnel members with the Titans tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini first reported that the Steelers-Titans game has been postponed. The NFL later issued a statement saying the game will be played either Monday or Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, a total of four players and five staffers with the Titans had tested positive. No one with the Minnesota Vikings, who hosted Tennessee last weekend, tested positive.

Obviously, the situation is fluid. The NFL expected positive COVID-19 tests during the season, and protocols are in place to deal with that. Should more positive tests turn up during the week, the plan could change again.

Report: Raiders being investigated for breaking coronavirus protocol

Raiders logo

Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders were fined this week after Gruden once again did not wear his mask throughout the team’s entire game. Now, more sanctions could be coming against the Raiders for a different violation.

The NFL is investigating the Raiders for potentially violating coronavirus protocols by allowing a team employee without proper credentials to enter their locker room. The alleged violation took place following Monday night’s big win over the New Orleans Saints.

Only 40 employees from each organization are allowed inside the locker room. There are security points to prevent unauthorized people from entering locker rooms, and the NFL believes the Raiders staffer eluded those checkpoints.

Gruden and Saints head coach Sean Payton were both fined $100,000 and their teams were fined $250,000 after the two did not wear their masks on the sideline throughout the entire game. Gruden revealed after the game that he already contracted COVID-19 during the summer and said he is doing his best to adhere to the mask rules.