Roger Goodell and the NFL are bringing the heat when it comes to COVID-19 protocols.
The league and union issued a memo to all 32 NFL team owners, presidents, general managers, and coaches issuing stricter infractions for teams who violate the league’s revised protocol.
The two-page memo threatened the loss of potential draft picks and forfeiture of games.
“There have been breaches to the protocols and individual players, staff, and clubs have been disciplined as a result,” Goodell said in the memo. “We will not only conduct reviews in cases of multiple positive tests at one club, but the league and union will continue to conduct inspections of club facilities to ensure protocol compliance. If it is determined that club personnel or players failed to have followed the protocols, discipline will be issued and will escalate where noncompliance continues. Protocol violations that result in virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game.”
The league has also modified its protocol as it applies to the onboarding process of free-agent tryouts. Goodell’s memo said the time period will be increased but did not specify the new timeframe.
As of now, free agent tryouts must go through a 48-hour quarantine period and testing before arriving at the team’s practice facility. The number of free-agent tryouts will also be limited per week.
Additionally, the memo stated gatherings outside the team facility are not permissible and the NFL will implement video monitoring to ensure all players and staff are in compliance with league protocols while at the club facility and while traveling.
''Simply put, compliance is mandatory,” Goodell said. “Now is the time to recommit ourselves to our protocols and best practices for the duration of the season.''
The revised COVID protocol comes after the Tennessee Titans had an outbreak in which nearly 20 players and staff tested positive. Several Las Vegas Raiders players were also fined for not wearing a mask while attending an indoor charity event.
The Pats-Chiefs Week 5 game was also postponed to Monday after New England QB Cam Newton and Kansas City practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu tested positive for COVID-19.
Multiple coaches, including Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, were fined for not wearing a mask on the sidelines. Carroll was one of five coaches fined $100,000 for failing to comply with the NFL’s mask policy in Week 2.
Seattle has had zero verified positive tests since the team began daily testing on July 28 at the start of training camp.