Titans fine comes from mask violations and failure to communicate with players

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After sending a clear message to other teams that the Tennessee Titans would face significant and potentially unprecedented punishment for its violations of COVID-19 protocols, the NFL went the other way, with some thinking the Titans wouldn’t be punished at all. Ultimately, the NFL settled on a middle ground far closer to nothing at all.

The league has confirmed that the Titans were fined $350,000 for protocol violations that resulted in the rescheduling of two games. The fine flows from a failure to properly and consistently wear masks in the facility and the lack of clear communication with players who practiced outside facility.

That last part implies that players weren’t told not to practice away from the facility while the facility was closed following an outbreak, and that management didn’t know the workouts were happening.

It could have been worse, but the Titans fully cooperated in the review and it also helped identify ways to improve the COVID-19 protocols.

As one source from another team explained it to PFT, the amount of the fine “is nothing based on what we were told they did,” and that there were “some serious negotiation between Titans and the league.” One source speculated that the NFL may have made a mistake of some kind in the investigation and that it would come to light if they hit the Titans as hard as they had planned to.

The question now becomes whether other teams that force rescheduling of games or facility shutdowns will face similar penalties, or something more significant. It won’t be easy to penalize someone harshly after the Titans precedent, unless the league makes it entirely clear that the Tennessee punishment constitutes a warning shot for everyone.