The news out of Tennessee today should serve as a warning to the rest of the NFL: Playing a season amid a pandemic is not going to be easy.
It’s going to be harder if players succumb to protocol fatigue.
Enter the Las Vegas Raiders.
Raiders players potentially violated NFL and state of Nevada mandates at a public gathering Monday night, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.
Raiders tight end Darren Waller hosted a fundraiser for his foundation, which seeks to equip youth to avoid and overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol. Videos have surfaced of players, including quarterbacks Derek Carr and Nathan Peterman and tight ends Jason Witten and Foster Moreau, without face coverings while mingling at the event.
“You don’t like seeing this,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told Bonsignore. “I don’t know that it’s actually been built into our memories that you have to wear a mask.”
The city of Henderson was unaware of the event until afterward and is investigating, a city spokeswoman told Bonsignore.
It is unclear whether attendees were tested before the event. NFL players are tested daily.
But the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to a personal responsibility mandate as part of a revised CBA for 2020. It specifically prohibits players from engaging in certain behaviors this season as part of risk mitigation.
Among the restrictions, players are not allowed to attend indoor night clubs with crowds of 10 or more or attend any gathering or event that violates local and/or state restrictions. They also are required to wear face coverings while in public.
The league can fine players for violating its personal responsibility rules.
The Raiders already have had the league fine them $250,000 and Jon Gruden $100,000 for the coach’s failure to wear a face covering in a game against the Saints. They also reportedly are under investigation for allowing a non-credentialed team employee into their locker room after that Monday night game, potentially violating NFL policy.