NFL tells teams that discipline for COVID protocol violations has been issued “as warranted,” without providing specifics

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference
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The NFL, after ignoring obvious and blatant COVID protocol violations by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, announced publicly the imposition of fines against him, teammate Allen Lazard, and the team. The NFL otherwise has clammed up when it comes to other fines issued for COVID protocol violations in 2021.

As recently noted, the league failed to respond to three different email inquiries on that subject, a request aimed at determining whether Rodgers and/or the Packers did indeed receive favorable treatment. In Wednesday’s memo distributed to all teams regarding changes to the COVID protocol (a copy of which PFT has obtained), the NFL made this general statement: “Discipline has been issued against individual players and clubs as warranted.” However, no specifics were shared with the teams as to the fines actually imposed.

The memo reminds team that unvaccinated players should not gather outside the club facility in groups of more than three tiered individuals (including players), should not attend an indoor nightclub or bar in which more than ten people are present, should not attend an indoor music concert/entertainment event, should not attend house gatherings of more than 15 people without all individuals wearing PPE and maintaining physical distancing, should not attend a professional sporting event other than applicable NFL games or events without being seated separately in a group of no more than 10 people, all of whom are wearing PPE, and should not attend an event prohibited by state or local regulations.

“Violations of these rules will result in discipline against the player or staff member engaged in the prohibited conduct and may result in discipline against the club if it is found that the club has failed to enforce these Protocols,” the memo explains. The truth as to Rodgers and the Packers is that the league — which knew Rodgers’s true vaccination status — would have done nothing unless and until Rodgers tested positive and the crap hit the fan. If Rodgers hadn’t tested positive, he’d still be violating protocol, the Packers would still be letting him do it, and the NFL would be doing jack squat about it.

The good news is that the league may be taking a step toward something that should have been done a while ago.

“We are also offering to send league staff to assist with the enforcement of the Protocols at your facilities,” the memo explains. “These visits, which will occur over 2 to 3 days, will be similar to those that we offered during Training Camp. League staff would be available to address your club or to be placed in highly visible areas to remind players about mask usage and physical distancing and to monitor Kinexon compliance.”

Of course, the teams have to accept the offer. Even then, it’s a temporary fix. League observers need to be present on a full-time basis to ensure compliance with all protocols.

Sure, it would cost money to have compliance officers at every team on a full-time basis. Whatever the price, it will be less than the expense of losing even one game to an outbreak.