NFL warns teams of potential discipline for failure to properly wear masks

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It’s so far, so good for pro football in a pandemic. But that can change quickly, if/when people get complacent and/or protocols aren’t followed.

On Monday, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent sent a memo to all General Managers, head coaches, and athletic trainers regarding the joint NFL-NFL Players Association protocols.

“[W]e must remain vigilant and disciplined in following the processes and protocols put in place by not only the league, union and clubs, but also by state and local governments,” Vincent writes in the memo, a copy of which PFT has obtained. “Becoming careless or ignoring face covering and physical distancing requirements will put the 2020 season at risk.”

The memo then reminds the recipients that the protocol “requires all individuals with bench area access (including coaches and members of the club medical staff) to wear face coverings at all times.” (Emphasis in original.)

“Two of our stadiums are in locations in which this requirement is mandatory for all individuals, including players,” Vincent writes. “Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs. Wearing a mask does not mean using it as a chin strap or hanging it from one’s neck. 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.”

Sunday’s games included multiple examples of coaches pulling their masks down from time to time (like Rams coach Sean McVay) and/or individuals wearing masks that didn’t completely cover their noses and mouths. The NFL has made it clear in the aftermath of the first Sunday of the regular season that deficiencies exist, that they must be remedied, and that if they aren’t there will be consequences.

The ultimate consequence to the league would be an outbreak of the virus. That’s what the league is trying to avoid. Ensuring that everyone who is required to wear a mask does so properly will go a long way toward keeping the NFL from postponing or canceling games.

35 responses to “NFL warns teams of potential discipline for failure to properly wear masks

  1. NBA coaches coach indoors where virus transmission is more frequent with no mask but give post game press conferences with a mask despite being in a “bubble.” NFL coaches coach (mostly) outdoors where virus transmission is virtually nil, are required to wear masks, but give their postgame press conferences maskless. Both groups are tested several times each week.
    Maybe one day this will all make sense.

  2. Saw Sean McDermott do that quite a bit, pulling the mask down so his nose is exposed, pulling it down under the chin, etc. I was wondering, what’s the point?

  3. I expected this from the Hipster coaches, but all of them seemed to remove or wear them incorrectly at least once.

  4. I was hoping there would be an outcry for this display on national tv. They need to demonstrate the correct behavior for society as a whole until this is over.

  5. “sean payton didnt even have one on him. i guess he already had it so he’s immune now?”

    Well there have been a handful of people who got it a 2nd time after recovering, so nobody really knows

  6. Schism Lateralus says:
    September 14, 2020 at 10:43 am
    Refs were guilty of this as well…


    One of the more insignificant things the refs were guilty of this weekend….

  7. They are tested every single day and will be for the rest of the season. The mask is meant to prevent transmission to others but in order to spread it has to replicate inside its host for a few days. Won’t the daily test show positive before the subject becomes infectious? Plus if they are outside and socially distanced on the sideline that’s no different than any of us being outside talking to a neighbor. I’m confused.

  8. There were so many chin strappers on the sidelines, it was pathetic. How can a coaching staff expect their players to maintain discipline when they treat the mask as optional? Covering your face and mouth AT ALL TIMES is the only responsible behavior. the NFL should suspend anyone who represents the shield in any way for ignoring advice from medical experts. How dare these adults model irresponsible behavior to our children.

  9. Yeah its not a good look on tv. On the other hand, are the masks really necessary given that all the players and personnel have been tested? I guess because they are not in a bubble situation? Seems strange that a special teams guy that is on the kick-off team doesnt have to wear one for the entire game just because he was in on the opening kick-off but the coach next to him has to wear one the whole time. I guess theres not really a good solution or remedy other than to wear them.

  10. edukator44 says:
    September 14, 2020 at 10:48 am
    sean payton didnt even have one on him. i guess he already had it so he’s immune now?


    The mask wouldn’t be for him. Even if he already had it, he could still potentially get re-infected and pass it on. It’s not known yet how long antibodies last. My wife tested negative for antibodies just 5 months after infection.

  11. Every single player & coach, plus probably everyone else with gameday duties, was tested Friday or Saturday and 100% came back negative. Why was anyone even wearing a mask on the sidelines yesterday? What a joke this whole thing has become.

  12. Typical NFL potential fine, make a rule and stand by it once police your own work place for once.

  13. with regard to daily testing, ron rivera described the daily testing as temperature checks. if that’s literally all the daily testing is then its not especially meaningful. its also borderline incredible to think that they’ve had no one with a fever (for any reason) out of 5000+ tests given.

  14. yousoldout714 says:
    September 14, 2020 at 2:50 pm
    if tests are accurate why wear a mask…if the masks work why test?


    If people claim you can become re-infected or spread the virus once you already have immunity then why develop a vaccine?

  15. People don’t understand the whole mask thing, you don’t need a mask if you stay 6 feet way and don’t stay in contact longer that 15 minutes

  16. why in the world would anyone have a problem with a display of over-abundance of caution…while watching that display from their couch? Def makes no sense….

  17. It’s awesome watching NFL football after so much else has been put on hold. I’d hate to lose the season because some weren’t following the rules.

  18. Sit on the bench next to a teammate and not wear a mask=bad
    Stand on the field shoulder to shoulder with the same teammate with no mask=good

  19. Why is this a big deal if they are tested every day when they enter the facility? No reason they need masks if tested every day.

  20. I’m watching the Titans play and two refs are practically kissing each other. I mean, neither guy has on a mask, and they’re talking with their faces 16 inches away from each other. There’s no crowd noise, so there’s no need to be so close.

  21. covidiots says:
    September 14, 2020 at 11:13 am
    “sean payton didnt even have one on him. i guess he already had it so he’s immune now?”

    Well there have been a handful of people who got it a 2nd time after recovering, so nobody really knows

    This is not true. There has been only one documented case in Hong Kong of a person getting it twice and the second time his body effectively prevented it from doing anything (ie. symptoms/spread/etc) similar to how some vaccines will work. He was only diagnosed because they test everyone returning from the States and it was >6mo from his previous diagnosis. There is not a single other documented case of someone getting it in the entire world.

    Comments like these are awful in that they spread misinformation for no reason other than generate fear out of ignorance.

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