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How much are NFL fines for not wearing a mask? Here are the rules for coaches on the sidelines

The NFL is proceeding with its 2020 regular-season as scheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic in part so it can preserve what’s left of the economy of pro football this year. So of course the league is going to be strict about the protocols it believes will keep all 32 teams on track to play the full season without coronavirus-related interruption.

The wearing of masks for everybody but players on the sidelines during games is one of those protocols, and after Week 2, a handful of NFL coaches learned the hard way how serious the league is on the matter.

After the first week of the season, NFL teams were reminded of the league’s mask policy for sidelines and warned that insubordination would result in fines. The NFL delivered on that warning when it fined five head coaches for their failure to properly wear masks during their Week 2 games.

Below is more about those fines and the specifics of the rules for coaches wearing masks on the sidelines of NFL games in 2020.

How much are NFL fines for not wearing a mask?

Broncos coach Vic Fangio, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Saints coach Sean Payton and Raiders coach Jon Gruden all were hit with $100,000 fines for now wearing their masks appropriately during their Week 2 games.

In conjunction with the fines for all five coaches, each of their teams was fined an additional $250,000. The NFL did not make clear what level of mask-wearing failure warrants a fine and what does not.

The league also had not publicly announced what the fines for failing to wear masks on the sidelines would be, so the numbers came as a bit of a surprise. Washington offensive assistant coach Jennifer King had some fun with it on Twitter.

“I had a coach who was reminding me about (wearing the mask) throughout the game,” Carroll said after he was fined. “(Running backs coach) Chad Morton was on my ass the whole night. He was reminding me the whole time. I even changed masks at halftime to find one that worked better. Sometimes you’ve got to get coached up. Sometimes you have to admit that you screwed up and have got to do better.

“We wear masks all day at practice, we wear them around the building. I know it’s extremely important to wear masks. Sometimes you’ve just got to be reminded.”

Added Gruden after Las Vegas’ win over New Orleans on Monday night of Week 2: “I’m doing my best. I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. … I’m calling plays. I just want to communicate in these situations, and if I get fined, I’ll have to pay the fine.

“But I’m very sensitive about that, and I apologize.”

Mask rules for NFL coaches on sidelines

During NFL games, all coaches and staff members in the bench areas are required to wear masks.

As for the players, it depends. According to ESPN, the NFL made “a strong recommendation” but did not issue a league-wide requirement for players on the sidelines to wear masks during games.

Coaches are included with players in the tier of NFL team personnel who receive daily testing, so many are wondering why coaches are required to abide by a different mask standard than players on the sidelines during games. It’s a fair question, and it’s one that was recently presented to NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills during an interview with NFL Media.

“First and foremost, it’s part of our agreed upon protocol between the league and the NFL Players Association,” Sills said. “So it’s not optional for people to follow that protocol, right? All of the parts of that protocol are mandatory.

“But getting to the philosophy behind it, we’ve said consistently testing is not what keeps us safe. Tests are important, but no test is perfect. We do have those false positives and false negatives, so it is possible that you could have a negative test result and still be infected. In those cases, the face coverings are very important.

“So we think it’s just another step that’s important in risk-mitigation. I’ll also say that some of the public health authorities have mandated that sideline personnel wear face coverings in their stadiums in their locations. So for all those reasons, it’s not something that’s optional for us.”

Masks are required for all team and league personnel, players included, while they are traveling to and from games. They also are required inside all team facilities with the exception of practices and workouts.

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