Though they’ve only had one player go on the COVID-19 list during the regular season, the Las Vegas Raiders keep getting in trouble with the NFL over COVID-19 violations. Whether it’s head coach Jon Gruden not wearing his mask on the sidelines or players at an indoor fundraiser with no masks on, the team is definitely in the NFL’s crosshairs. It seems like every week there’s a new violation for the team and Gruden is sick of hearing about it.
“I’m not going to answer any more of these questions,” Gruden said in response to a COVID-19 question on Wednesday. “I’m really confident that everybody’s doing the best they can. You know, we are doing everything we can and we have great confidence in everybody that we play that they are doing the best they can.”
“This is a tough situation. I admire everyone’s cooperation working hard to prevent the spread, but I’m not going to keep answering questions about this,” Gruden continued. “I hate the virus. We’ve got to rev up our intensity and our concentration on how to beat it, and that we will do.”
Gruden has already had COVID-19 so he has first-hand experience on the effects it has on a person. However, the Raiders are going to keep getting in trouble unless they follow the rules. Whether Gruden thinks it’s fair or not doesn’t really matter to the NFL.
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Raiders Could Lose Draft Pick: Report
While Gruden keeps saying the team is doing the best they can, the NFL doesn’t seem to care much. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports is reporting that the NFL could drop the hammer on the Raiders:
The league is very serious about stripping teams of draft picks, with the Raiders very likely looking at the loss of at least one draft selection for their repeated breaches of the policies, sources said.
Losing a draft pick could be a potentially steep penalty to pay. There hasn’t been word on how high of a draft pick they could lose. Obviously, losing anything in the first three rounds could be devastating for a team that has tried so hard to build through the draft. The Raiders may have already done too much and could lose a draft pick regardless. Either way, they should be on their best behavior going forward.
Raiders Appealing Player Fines
Recently the NFL hit multiple players with fines for attending Darren Waller’s charity event. The players included Derek Carr, Waller and Jason Witten. The NFL has been quick to fine teams and coaches but the NFLPA doesn’t believe that the league has the authority to fine individual players and are panning to appeal on the Raiders’ behalf, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
NFLPA has notified the 10 Raiders who were fined for breaking Covid mask protocols at Darren Waller's charity event that it will appeal for them, per sources. Union will argue such fines must come from the team, not the league. The players were docked $165,000 ($30k for Waller)
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 7, 2020
The Raiders made it clear they weren’t going to fine their players due to the nature of the violation. Going to a charity fundraiser is a lot different than getting caught at a club. Things could get a little tense between the NFLPA and NFL this season.