The New Orleans Saints celebrated their total domination of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9 with music and dancing in their locker room. One thing that wasn’t part of their celebration: Face masks. And the NFL is not happy about it.
Viral videos showed violations
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that the Saints are facing “significant discipline” over their maskless post-victory celebration after videos of their antics went viral. Several Saints players posted videos of the locker room after the 38-3 win, and so did the Saints’ official Twitter account, which showed players and head coach Sean Payton dancing around without masks.
The Saints’ Twitter account has since deleted the videos.
A year ago, none of that would have looked abnormal. Now, that video is an example of everything the NFL can’t allow if it wants to keep playing football during a pandemic. According to the health and safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff must wear masks in the locker room.
Saints are repeat offenders
According to Schefter, the Saints’ punishment is expected to be severe, and that’s because the Saints are repeat offenders. The NFL fined them and the Las Vegas Raiders, plus Payton and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, a total of $700,000 for failing to properly wear their masks when they faced each other in Week 2.
The discipline for the Saints’ latest violation is expected to be more severe this time, similar to the punishment the Raiders received in early November. For continued violations of the protocols, Gruden was fined $150,000 and the Raiders were fined $500,000, the largest financial penalty to date. The NFL also stripped the Raiders of their sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft.
The NFL wants to send a message to all teams, but especially to those that are repeat offenders: If you don’t follow the protocols, it’s going to hurt.
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