NFL players struggle to follow COVID-19 protocols

The impact of COVID-19 has hurt many of the professional and collegiate sports this past year. The NFL has been one of the major leagues trying to battle and continue a long season that goes deep into the winter months. So far, the NFL has been able to play over seven weeks in this historic 2020-2021 season. The league has made it far, but there have been some troubling concerns about player misconduct this season.

The league has worked closely with BioReference Labs to conduct daily testing. They have even set hefty fines for players who break protocols. Players can be fined $50,000 for not taking the COVID-19 test, and they can be fined another $14,650 for not wearing their mask or social distancing. These amounts of money have not stopped a series of players from violating the rules and putting the season in jeopardy.

Before the regular season kicked off, there was an incident in the Seattle Seahawks hotel. Kemah Siverand, a rookie cornerback, was caught sneaking a 23-year old woman into the team hotel. Shortly after the cameras caught, Siverand, he was cut from the Seahawks.

The Darren Waller foundation held a charity event in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, Sep 29, 2020. Many famous Raiders came to the event, such as star quarterback Derrick Carr. These players at the event were photographed without wearing masks or socially distancing. On top of that, the event broke state protocol of having more than 50 people at the event.

Another team with major issues is the Tennessee Titans. During week four, the team had a COVID-19 outbreak that led to their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers being cancelled. The league made a conscious effort to shut down the facility and move team meetings to online. 

Even with the NFL efforts, the players were caught by high school students taking pictures of Titan players working out at a local high school. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was one of the many players caught playing at the school. The NFL took action by fining the Titans a grand total of $350,000.

It is sad to see that many players across the league are not taking the pandemic seriously. In addition, it is unfair to the players, coaches, and teams that are concerned about the health and safety of everyone. 

Cam Newton, quarterback for the New England Patriots, tested positive for COVID-19 before playing the Kansas City Chiefs. His first response was not to endanger others, but to be concerned about the safety of others because of the time he spent at the Patriot’s facility.

It is ironic that the quarterbacks who are supposed to be highly paid players and strong leaders are the ones putting the season in jeopardy. The NFL can continue to fine players and teams for hurting the chances of a longer season, but the players are the ones who can control how this season ends. 

Sources come from The Independent, CBS Sports, The USA Today and CNBC.

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