NFL: Coaches who approach officials without mask can be penalized


The NFL Referees Association complained to the league about Ravens head coach John Harbaugh yelling at officials from a short distance without a face covering in Week Three and the league has let coaches know they can be punished for doing the same in any future games.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that NFL senior vice president of officiating Perry Fewell sent a memo to teams on Friday concerning the subject of maskless coaches interacting with officials. It said that officials have been told “if an individual not wearing a face covering approaches them inappropriately, they have the authority to take administrative or officiating action.”

According to the memo, those actions include assessing a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct to a coach in violation of the policy.

Several coaches and their teams have been fined for not wearing masks during games this season. The memo also mentions suspensions and draft pick forfeiture as possible punishments for continued violations.

28 responses to “NFL: Coaches who approach officials without mask can be penalized

  1. So a coach approaching an official without a mask is somehow lethal and yet these same officials are often within inches of the players who are not wearing masks and at times gasping for air.

    Where is the science in this and who will stop this madness?

  2. 15yd USC is appropriate. Fines don’t matter to these folks. But competitive disadvantage will get them in line.

  3. You’d think someone who got as up in the face as Harbaugh did would be penalized, regardless

  4. If everyone is getting tested every day & the players dont wear masks on the sidelines, why all of the mask bullying for coaches?

  5. Yet the refs call a penalty and when they huddle together they all lower their masks. Yea, ok.

  6. If it’s logical don’t expect Raven fans to get it. Slap them with a 15 yarder and repeat offenders cost a draft pick.

  7. Coach with mask pulled down= bad/could spread COVID
    Players with no mask good/cannot spread COVID

    Can the NFL determine how COVID is spread and who would be the most likely to catch/spread it?

  8. touchback6 says:
    October 9, 2020 at 3:23 pm
    Gruden and Whinebaugh
    Tell me again about the Tennessee Titans.

  9. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. Heavily breathing, unmasked players – Okay. Unmasked coach – FLAG!!!

  10. It should be a penalty regardless of our current health crisis. Quit your whining or throw your challenge flag.

  11. I imagine all this happened when the NFL promised local and state officials that all personnel not in uniform would have to wear masks at all times or they could be penalized under whatever the local regulations dictate. Silly, yes, due to everyone being tested and unless positive would not even be out there, but same rules exist for local population when in a gym(in California), restaurant, etc., so even if you’ve already had it and recovered does not matter you must stick to the mandate the league negotiated with everyone before being allowed to play.

  12. The head coaches need to be tossed out as soon as they violate this policy. If they don’t move back then they will be removed PERIOD to the locker room. If a head coach gets tossed he loses all contact with his team and other coaches and players for the remainder of the game and his cell phone is taken away. Welcome to head coaching hell. If you have to scream at officials to try to defend your team them your not a very good coach. I NEVER EVER saw Tom Landry lose his cool on the sidelines towards officials. Now we are in uncharted waters with a virus and they act like a call in a football game is life or death when in reality it really is… but not because of your damn game. Throw them out if they don’t get in line with league policy. PERIOD.

  13. I don’t think Harbaugh cared at that moment. The call – tripping by Nick Boyle – was a massive failure and a momentum killer. Even the TV folks said it was bad.

    Besides if you watch the rest of the masked up people they usually lower their mask to talk/yell/cheer and raise it again while breathing. It is joke that most people see through.

  14. First time – 15 yards and throw the flag high. Second time whomever it is – Head coach or any other coach – ejection. Next time next game or whenever during the season 1 draft pick.

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