The NFL will fine players up to $50,000 for breaking coronavirus rules

Tom Brady (12) of the Buccaneers looks for an open receiver in the red zone during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp on August 04, 2020 at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Florida.

Cliff Welch | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the NFL looks to get back on the gridiron this September in the wake of a global pandemic, the league has mandated several new safety protocols in an effort to keep players and team members safe. The league has issued a memo to all players and personnel outlining disciplinary measures for violating the rules.

The league and the players’ association agreed on the rules, which include everything from regular testing to practicing social distancing. Outside of team facilities, players are also expected to behave in ways that limit their exposure and reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus. 

Failure to do so can result in escalating fines of up to $50,000, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.

The biggest violation comes from a refusal to submit to required virus testing. The NFL is working with BioReference Labs, to do daily testing and antibody tests. If players fail to get tested, they first get a written warning, followed by “a maximum fine of an amount equal to one weeks salary and/or suspension without pay for a period for up to four weeks.” The maximum fine for this violation is $50,000. 

Players and personnel also received a Kinexon Proximity Recording device when they arrived at training camp, and they must wear it at all times. This device, about the size of a pair of Apple earbud headphones, warns players when they are too close to others and serves as a tool for contact tracing. Should someone test positive, the device has a log of everyone they have been in contact with.

The league said that refusal to wear this device will result in a progressive fine of up to $14,650. The first violation will include a written warning, followed by 40%, 70% and 100% of the maximum.  

Players are also expected to wear a mask while at their facility when they’re not playing or practicing, and in public. Failure to do so will also result in a progression of finesm also with a maximum penalty of $14,650.

The league also outlined “high risk” behavior that may draw a fine or suspension on the first violation, such as:

  • Attending an indoor bar or night club unless player is wearing personal protective equipment and there are no more than 10 people there.
  • House gatherings of more than fifteen people, unless the player and all guests are wearing masks or PPE, as well as gatherings where social distancing for more than ten people is impossible.
  • Attending an indoor music concert or entertainment event.
  • Attending a professional sporting event (other than applicable NFL games or events) unless the player is seated in a separated seating section, such as a suite or owner’s box, with no more than 10 people total, and is wearing PPE.

In addition, the memo states that the commissioner may punish any NFL club that fails to impose discipline on non-player club employees who violate these rules or engage in high-risk conduct.

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