The NFL announced Sunday morning that the Tennessee Titans were fined $350,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols that led to a vast outbreak of 24 impacted people within their ranks.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the fines come from “instances of failure to comply with requirements on wearing masks and insufficient clear communication regarding workouts outside the facility.”
No single individual within the Titans’ ranks, however, will not face punishment and the organization managed to avoid more severe punishments that the league initially threatened on its teams, including forfeitures or lost draft picks. They fully cooperated with the NFL’s investigation on the matter.
The Titans’ outbreak forced the NFL to move their Week 5 matchup earlier in October against the Buffalo Bills from Sunday to Tuesday. It was the NFL’s first Tuesday game since 1946.
This comes shortly after New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, star injured running back Saquon Barkley, and other teammates were seen out in Manhattan on Friday night following their Thursday-night collapse to the Philadelphia Eagles.
None were wearing masks as they had dinner in a private area of a New York City restaurant before having drinks at a bar in an area closed to the public.
The NFL and players union agreed earlier this month that player gatherings outside team facilities would be banned for the remainder of the 2020 season.
While the Titans and Giants are first-time offenders of the league’s COVID-19 protocols, the Las Vegas Raiders are not. Over the last week, they’ve seen rookie cornerback Damon Arnette and right tackle Trent Brown test positive — the latter forcing his other four starting offensive linemen to be held out of practice all week. Safety Johnathan Abram was also ruled out of Sunday’s Week 7 meeting against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It was discovered by the NFL and the players association that Brown had not been wearing his contact-tracing device while meeting with his offensive line. All the while, facemasks were not being worn.
Las Vegas has already been fined $250,000 after head coach Jon Gruden was not wearing a facemask on the sideline during a game and an additional $50,000 when an unauthorized person was found in the team’s locker room.
Multiple players were also fined for not wearing a facemask during a charity event.
Because of that, potential Raiders punishments will be far more severe than what the Titans were handed down, including the possibility of draft picks being docked.