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NFL’s chief medical officer explains why face coverings are “not optional”

Mike Florio airs his grievances for the week, including the NFL needing to enforce its mask policy on everyone on the sidelines and the lack of reasoning for having a camera cart so close to the field on MNF.

The NFL proved it is serious about making head coaches wear face coverings on the sideline. Pete Carroll, Kyle Shanahan, Vic Fangio, Sean Payton and Jon Gruden found that out the hard way.

The NFL docked those five coaches $100,000 each and fined each of their teams $250,000.

The question many are asking is: Why does the NFL require face coverings when the coaches take daily COVID-19 tests? They presumably have tested negative for the coronavirus if they are on the sideline.

“First and foremost, it’s part of our agreed upon protocol between the league and the NFL Players Association,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said, via Judy Battista of NFL Media. “So it’s not optional for people to follow that protocol, right? All of the parts of that protocol are mandatory. But getting to the philosophy behind it, we’ve said consistently testing is not what keeps us safe. Tests are important, but no test is perfect. We do have those false positives and false negatives, so it is possible that you could have a negative test result and still be infected. In those cases, the face coverings are very important. So we think it’s just another step that’s important in risk-mitigation. I’ll also say that some of the public health authorities have mandated that sideline personnel wear face coverings in their stadiums in their locations. So for all those reasons, it’s not something that’s optional for us.”

So whether coaches like it or not, they will have to wear face coverings on the sideline or pay stiff fines for not adhering to NFL protocol.