The NFL fined Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper $14,650 for violating the COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players, Todd Archer of ESPN reports. That is the maximum fine for a first violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
Cooper and teammate CeeDee Lamb sat courtside unmasked at the Dallas Mavericks’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 5. Lamb is vaccinated. Cooper is one of two Cowboys players who are unvaccinated.
Cooper missed two games with COVID-19 in November. While that exempts him from daily testing for 90 days, he still must follow a different set of protocols as an unvaccinated player.
According to the NFL’s 2021 regular-season protocols, “A player who is not fully vaccinated is prohibited from attending a professional sporting event unless he is seated in a separated seating section, such as a suite or owner’s box, is wearing PPE, and there are no more than 10 people in that separate seating section.”
Cooper defended his actions last week on 105.3 The Fan.
“I just think there’s risk all across the board,” cooper said on the radio, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Even if I stay home, I don’t live by myself. I have people who stay with me who have to go out to their job and stuff like that. There’s a book, ‘The Tipping Point’ that talks about how things spread, like diseases in the environment. You can stay at home, but if you stay with somebody else, obviously they go out to their job or drop the kids off at school or whatever, just by them doing that, they’re coming into contact with probably over a million people just because of the person they come into contact with comes into contact with a whole bunch of different people, and so forth and so on.
“When I do go somewhere, I mean, I was pictured not wearing a mask, but that’s because I was eating and drinking. I don’t know how to do that with a mask on. So I just think there’s risk all across the board. I don’t feel like anybody is staying home, you know what I mean? Am I supposed to just sit in the house all day? . . . I don’t really understand how to be extra careful because just by us going to practice every day, being around each other, we have teammates on our team who have kids. They take their kids to school who are around hundreds of other kids, who are around their parents when they go home, so forth and so on. So I don’t feel like we can be safe in the environment that we’re in. I feel like the only way we can be safe is if no one goes out and everybody is quarantining for an extended amount of time. But the environment that we’re in, where we have to go to practice, see each other, and then be around our families, there’s not really any safety in that, in my opinion.”