As the pandemic continues to create real issues for the NFL, the NFL will be creating real issues for the teams that fail to do what they should.
The latest development comes courtesy of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who per Adam Schefter of ESPN has been fined $100,000 for failure to wear a mask during Sunday’s game at Baltimore. The league also fined the Steelers $250,000.
It’s the same penalty that the league imposed earlier this year on a quintet of teams and coaches.
Tomlin’s didn’t violate the requirement as obviously and conspicuously as others. Indeed, he said several weeks ago that he’s trying to do the right thing by wearing a mask on the sideline.
“I’m just thankful to be working,” Tomlin said. “A lot aren’t able to in this pandemic. I don’t take that for granted. I just want to show a good example and show I am thankful for working. I try to be as diligent as I can.”
The league’s approach to punishing teams and coaches hasn’t been entirely clear. At times, it seems that bigger COVID-19 issues (like the Tennessee outbreak) put mask violations on the back burner. At other times, it seems that the league doesn’t want to invite criticism from fans and media who think masks don’t work.
Regardless, the mood at 345 Park Avenue currently points to punishment. And punishment may become critical to keeping the pandemic from eventually pulling the plug on the season.