We know that face masks are an important part of the fight against COVID-19, but not everyone is wearing them. In fact, the NFL recently fined three teams and their head coaches for not wearing masks, ESPN reports.
The NFL fined the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Denver Broncos $ 250,000 each. And the head coach of each team got a fine for $ 100,000, sources told ESPN. Together the NFL fines total $ 1,050,000.
While the NBA and NHL are operating within a COVID-19 “bubble” to prevent coronavirus infections, the NFL is taking a different approach. Instead, the league has a long set of protocols for players, coaches, and staff to follow. When it comes to masks, everyone who has access to the bench area is required to wear a face covering at all times. Although players on the field are not required to wear masks (some players have face shields in their helmets), those on the sidelines are strongly encouraged to wear them. And any fans attending games this season will be required to wear one.
This so-called Game Day Protocol “reflects the advice of infectious disease experts, club medical staffs, and local and state governmental regulations,” NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent wrote in a memo last week. “The face covering must be worn as designed so that it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of the virus,” the memo continues. “Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs.”
Face masks have become a pretty normal part of life over the past few months, especially when in public where social distancing isn’t possible. That’s because wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19, SELF explained previously. Experts believe that the coronavirus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets that people who have the virus expel when they talk, yell, cough, or sneeze. A mask provides a barrier that keeps those droplets from reaching someone else and, therefore, prevents you from spreading the coronavirus to someone else.
It remains to be seen how the rest of the NFL season goes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering how important masks are right now, it sure would be nice if everyone got on board with wearing them.