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NFL: Coaches who approach officials without mask can be penalized

Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at what the NFL is trying to do to prevent COVID-19 from derailing the season and how hard the league may come down on the Titans for breaking protocol.

The NFL Referees Association complained to the league about Ravens head coach John Harbaugh yelling at officials from a short distance without a face covering in Week Three and the league has let coaches know they can be punished for doing the same in any future games.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that NFL senior vice president of officiating Perry Fewell sent a memo to teams on Friday concerning the subject of maskless coaches interacting with officials. It said that officials have been told “if an individual not wearing a face covering approaches them inappropriately, they have the authority to take administrative or officiating action.”

According to the memo, those actions include assessing a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct to a coach in violation of the policy.

Several coaches and their teams have been fined for not wearing masks during games this season. The memo also mentions suspensions and draft pick forfeiture as possible punishments for continued violations.