I'm a mask wearer. I believe that considering where we are in the COVID-19 fight, you should wear one, too. But, the NFL's combined half-million-dollars in fines for five head coaches is RIDICULOUS!

The coaches, Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints and pictured above), Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders), Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks), Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers), and Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos) were each fined 100-grand for improperly wearing a mask, or flat out not even trying to wear it while on the sidelines during their respective games this weekend. Also, the teams themselves (aka the team owners) were each pegged with reported fines of $250,000 each. This followed a warning from the league after Week 1 games that saw several coaches occasionally or frequently unmasked during kickoff weekend (basically, wear it or pay us!).

Again, being that we're all pretty well versed on the mask requirements, six-foot distancing, and other regulations - including no fans in stands at the football games these coaches were coaching - I'm gonna skip 'the sell' on why medical experts say the mask works. Google it.

But, that's mask-wearing in public. Where you're associating with small or large groups of people, really a random collection of folks - gas stations, supermarket, restaurants, etc. You may be encountering carriers or you may be carrying it. They don't know and neither do you.

We're not talking about people you work-with in close quarters every day. In football, this is a collection of people all using the same restrooms, traveling on planes and buses together, eating together, in the huddle together, celebrating together.

Plus, they're frequently tested.

When a pro-athlete gets the virus, very soon after we know about it. Or at least the team does.

New Orleans Saints v Las Vegas Raiders
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders smiles after the Raiders defeated the New Orleans Saints 34-24 in the NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on September 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

I don't wear a mask in the studio with Keeler and Andrew when we do our daily radio show. I don't wear a mask when I visit my mother or hug my son after he comes home from school. Is there risk there?

Yes. But, it's limited.

If Sean Payton or Jon Gruden did have COVID-19, they've had endless opportunities to spread it to their teams before standing on the sidelines this weekend.

And, if you watch these games, you'll see most of the time these coaches stand basically-alone, several feet from others on the sidelines, shouting play calls into a headset while holding a play-calling-sheet up to their face.

Trendy new face shield?

Someone should ask the CDC.

I can understand the argument for fining coaches for speaking to/arguing with an NFL official without their mask on. These referees haven't spent the week traveling with, training with, eating with, and meeting with the NFL teams whose games they're officiating.

That, I can get.

Simply being on television without a mask shouldn't be a finable offense.

And, $100k??


Consider this, based on this chart outlining the financial penalties for various NFL offenses, I'd say $100k is quite excessive.

A uniform violation, which is what I'd argue this is, occurs when a player wears unapproved, unauthorized, or unlicensed equipment or accessories. A fine for the first offense is between $5,000-$7,000. Second offense could cost you as much as $20,000.

Make physical contact with an NFL referee on the field (always thought to be way out of bounds and deserving of a harsh penalty) - it's $35,000. Do it a second time - $70,000.

Don't wear a mask on the field standing 5-feet from the players and coaches you've met with, ate with, traveled with, and associated with for several hours each day for the last two months - $100,000!!


It's all optics, I guess.

I say it's bad breath and poor leadership from the league office.

The NFL attracts bad press like no-other and apparently to avoid it, Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't mind imposing excessive financial pain to make examples out of coaches for very low-risk, unmasked exposures.


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