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Sport Column: Time for NFL players, coaches to mask up or go home

10:01  01 october  2020
10:01  01 october  2020 Source:   ap.org

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If coaches and players will continue to be tested on a daily basis, there’s a broader reason for coaches The coaches are running up and down the sideline for most of the game and screaming at people I love watching NFL football and I don’t want it to go away. Every time they relax the rules

As the NFL gears up for players to return to team facilities, Commissioner Roger Goodell issued protocols to clubs detailed in a Monday memo obtained by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Surgical masks must be replaced daily or more frequently if visibly soiled.

At first blush it doesn’t make a lot of sense to force NFL coaches to mask up on the sidelines when dozens of players with no similar virus protection are crashing into each other nearby.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © Provided by Associated Press Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

That’s what Jon Gruden and Sean Payton must have been thinking when they coached on national television with their masks pulled down. Both made a conscious decision to violate league rules, with little regard to the bad optics involved.

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play . NFL fines multiple coaches and teams for COVID-19 mask violations (0:39). The strongly worded memo, sent to coaches , general managers and team executives by NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, includes a passage in which the NFL says it will "address lack of compliance

Visit HowStuffWorks to learn about an NFL coach 's challenge. At any time before the two-minute warning of each half or overtime period, the head coach of either team can signal a Once the coach issues his challenge, the referee goes to one of two or three shielded television monitors near the field.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and a few teammates made that same decision when they went into an overcrowded room at a country club earlier this week without masks. The appearances were for a good cause — tight end Darren Waller’s charity — but there’s nothing good about the message Carr sent when video of the event showed him not only maskless but in close contact with people who, unlike him, aren’t tested every day.

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden adjusts his protective mask along the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © Provided by Associated Press Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden adjusts his protective mask along the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Gruden and Payton got $100,000 fines and the threat of even harsher penalties if they do it again. Carr should pay, too, even if he claimed he wasn’t trying to make a statement about masks.

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The league wasn't happy over all the improper mask usage. Stern warning from NFL officials to its teams Monday the league is demanding coaches wear their masks In a league memo from Troy Vincent, obtained by multiple media outlets, the league exec said that's straight- up just unacceptable.

NFL fines head coaches for not wearing masks . Should NFL abandon the mask rule for coaches ? Unfortunately for the 19-year-old Lawrence, the league ’s rules require players to be three years out of high school before they can turn pro.

“I feel like we’ve done a fantastic job around here, and I hate that a few moments without our masks on led to a story about our team and all this kind of stuff,’’ Carr said Wednesday.

The problem with that kind of logic is that those few moments could lead to more than a story. Video from the charity outing showed Carr mingling with people around the room, seemingly oblivious to the fact that some of them could conceivably have COVID-19.

What if Carr or one of his teammates was infected at the gathering? What if he brought it back to his team this week?

What about the Buffalo Bills, who play the Raiders on Sunday? What should they think?

The bottom line is that without a lot of protocols — and mask wearing is at the top of the list — there would be no NFL season. And appearances matter, whether they’re on the sidelines of a game or in the dining room of a country club in a Las Vegas suburb.


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The NFL is trying desperately to play without a bubble, no easy task with a virus that plays no favorites. That came into even more focus this week when the first wave of positive in-season NFL virus tests hit in Tennessee, forcing the postponement of Sunday’s game between the Titans and Steelers.

That the NFL got through three weeks of the season without positive tests was amazing all by itself. It’s testament to both the league’s organizational prowess and the strict way it enforces regulations put in place to keep the virus off the field and out of the locker room.

But now there’s an outbreak in Tennessee. There are public mask violators in New Orleans and Las Vegas.

And now you need to wonder. Can the NFL really expect some 3,000 players, coaches and other personnel — many of them thinking they’re bulletproof in their 20s — to play by the rules for at least three more months?

Probably not without some added incentive, which is why Gruden and Payton had to pay such stiff fines. The NFL wanted to send a message, though it didn’t seem to get across to Carr and the 10 or so teammates who joined him at the indoor charity event.

Report: NFL investigating Raiders for breaking COVID-19 protocol

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With the NFL offseason going virtual, how will teams adapt and what changes can we expect The NFL is permitting teams to send players up to ,500 worth of equipment such as medicine balls Normally, the NFL considers such purchases a salary-cap violation. During this time , coaches can

The NFL is expected to consider allowing limited coaches ’ challenges for judgment calls, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. It would include a penalty or time run off if the coach is The addendum is designed to get those against the use of coaches ’ challenges for judgment calls on board, per Schefter.

If that’s not enough, the league warned Wednesday that future punishments could include both suspensions and the loss of future draft picks — something that will surely get the attention of those involved.

“While we saw significant progress in Week 3 with compliance from club personnel, wearing of protective equipment is still not universal,’’ NFL operations chief Troy Vincent said in a memo sent to all 32 teams. ”And this lack of compliance creates unnecessary risk to game-day participants.”

The NFL isn’t exactly running scared, but it should be worried. The season hangs in the balance, and how it responds to the outbreak in Tennessee and the protocol violations will likely determine whether it all gets played.

Gruden on Wednesday said the players made a mistake by not wearing their masks, though he was careful not to criticize them. How could he, after spending three hours in primetime last week barking at players and into his headset with his mask down below his chin?

“They’re aware of their mistake,’’ Gruden said. ”But we’ve done an excellent job of using our manners, taking proper care of each other.”

Gruden is wrong, of course, and he should know better. He revealed after the Monday night opener in Las Vegas that he had COVID-19 during the summer, though he didn’t say how sick he was.

Wearing a mask isn’t that hard, as we’ve all found in recent months. It isn’t even that uncomfortable.

Either wear one or find something else to do the rest of the year.

___

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

Patrick Mahomes has very high praise for Cam Newton .
Newton is nowhere near as good of a player as Mahomes at this point in their respective careers, but he’s a different type of player. Mahomes keeps plays alive with his feet, but he’s arguably the best passer in the NFL. Newton still makes numerous plays with his legs and is far more physical than Mahomes.We’d say the Chiefs have their work cut out for them against Newton and the Patriots, but we all saw what Mahomes just did to the Ravens. Jackson made a tough admission about his AFC foe after that game, and it will be interesting to see how Newton feels following his showdown with Mahomes and company.

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