NFL Commissioner on fining coaches for not wearing masks: ‘You can’t let up’

By Vincent Frank
Sep 21, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden before a NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is not messing around with its mask policy in the league’s attempt to play a season in the COVID-19 era. All 32 teams around the league were given protocols weeks before the season started detailing how COVID-related policies would look.

Unfortunately, multiple head coaches decided to spurn these policies in Week 2. That led to over $1 million in fines handed out to coaches and their teams for the former opting not to wear masks during Sunday’s action.

NFL hands out fines to three teams and head coaches for not wearing masks

  • Vic Fangio: The Denver Broncos head coach was fined $100,000 with his team fined another $250,000 for him not wearing a mask during its Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Kyle Shanahan: During his team’s blowout win over the New York Jets Sunday afternoon, the Super Bowl head coach was fined $100,000 with the San Francisco 49ers receiving another $250,000 fine.
  • Pete Caroll: Despite a thrilling late-game win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night, not all is great for Carroll and his Seattle Seahawks. Like the other two coaches, he was fined $100,000. The Seahawks’ organization was also fined another $250,000.

The fines likely won’t stop there. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was seen not wearing a mask during his team’s shocking “Monday Night Football” win over the New Orleans Saints. For his part, Saints head coach Sean Payton was in the same boat.

Gruden addressed that following Monday’s game.

“I’m doing my best. You know, I’ve had the virus, okay. I’m doing my best,” Gruden said in his post-game press conference. “I’m very sensitive about it, but I’m calling plays.”

The NFL is doing everything in its power to make sure the 2020 season can go on as planned and be completed amid a pandemic that most figure will increase in seriousness during the winter. It’s in this that the league’s top dog commented on the fine.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks out on fines

“It’s consistent with the message,” Goodell told USA TODAY Sports on Monday night. “You can’t let up. We’ve got to consistently do the things that have gotten us to this place and not think, ‘OK, things have gone so well, so it’s O now.’ It’s not. You’ve got to stay on your toes and we’ve got to continue to be disciplined.”

This is as much about the finances as it is anything else for the powers that be within the league office. Teams and the NFL as a whole are already facing a major revenue hit with a majority of organizations opting to at least start the 2020 season without fans being able to attend home games. Others have opted for a small percentage of capacity.

If the season were to be suspended due to an outbreak of the virus, these revenue hits would be taken to a whole new level. Despite mixed results as it relates to television ratings, ad revenue around the NFL is at an all-time high.