After a number of COVID-19 violations, the NFL dropped the biggest penalty yet on the Las Vegas Raiders. The team was fined $500,000 and lost a sixth-round pick while head coach Jon Gruden was fined $150,000. It was a clear message to the rest of the NFL that they are taking these violations very seriously and they’re not scared to hit teams hard.
However, Raiders owner Mark Davis doesn’t appreciate the fact that his team has to be on the wrong end of the message.
“The fines are draconian. But we will appeal them,” Davis said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “Outside the organization, people have the wrong impression about the Raiders. We take it seriously. It’s unfortunate that certain things outside the protocol are the things being focused on, rather than the positive steps we’ve taken as an organization. You’ve been in the building. You’ve seen it. Jon [Gruden] and those guys are working their a**es off every day. But at the same time, [the NFL] feels we’ve failed some of those mandates … We definitely take the virus seriously. We definitely take the protocols seriously. We are not willingly violating protocol. And anyone inside our building will attest to that.”
The Raiders definitely aren’t the only team to have violated protocols but they keep shooting themselves in the foot. Between Gruden not wearing a mask on the sideline consistently, players going to an indoor fundraiser without masks and Trent Brown not wearing his tracking device, it was just a matter of time before the NFL dropped the hammer on them.
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Gruden Addresses Fines
Gruden has probably been hit harder than anybody as this isn’t the first time he’s been fined. He was asked about the penalties but played coy.
“I’m just going to say I’m very proud of our organization how we’ve handled this entire protocol and this entire process,” Gruden said Friday. ” not going to comment any more than that. I believe we’re on the cutting edge of being the best … I’ll leave it at that.”
Gruden isn’t trying to get fined again so he’ll probably keep his thoughts to himself. He continues to believe the Raiders are doing the best they can but the NFL doesn’t see it that way.
Davis Believes That Raiders Are Almost Always Following the Protocols
Despite the NFL hitting the Raiders with penalties, Davis believes they are doing the best they can and some of the protocols are just really tough to follow.
“It’s really tough, you’re playing football, they’re at practice, not wearing a mask, and then to come off the field there are other protocols,” Davis said, per Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News. “Ninety-nine percent of the time everything is being followed.”
The Raiders have had their issues but they haven’t caused a postponement of a game yet as other teams have. Unfortunately for them, a few of the incidents have been caught on camera. If the NFL has proof of violations, they’re going to take action.