NFL sends final warning to teams regarding COVID-19 sideline protocols, and penalties are coming next

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The NFL is very serious about enforcing all COVID-related measures on game days this season, as a strongly-worded memo to teams indicated last week. Troy Vincent, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, told me that fines and other punishment will be forthcoming for those who do not comply with face masks and other measures on the sidelines.

The memo to all 32 teams read in part: “Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs … Becoming careless or ignoring face covering and physical distancing requirements will put the 2020 season at risk.” 

Vincent amplified the importance of following all sideline rules this week and cited the “tireless” work that the league, doctors, players and NFLPA put in to create regulations starting back in March that have worked remarkably well to this point. The league will be vigilant in policing the sidelines and expects all coaches, trainers and other staff to comply fully with wearing proper PPEs. The NFL believes the stakes are too high to not have everyone doing their part on game day, and everyone on the sidelines should consider themselves warned.

“It was troubling to see so many not adhere to the safety guidelines, and by doing so, risking health and the season,” Vincent said. “If we adhere to the guidelines, we play ball. The guidelines save lives. We must follow them. Accountability to follow.” 

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