Green Bay Packers fined $300,000 and quarterback Aaron Rodgers And receiver Alan Lazard was fined $14,650 by the NFL for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
Here’s an explanation of the NFL’s disciplinary procedures and guidelines in the COVID-19 protocol.
How is the punishment for breaking the COVID-19 protocol determined?
The NFL, the NFL Players Association and their medical directors and independent infectious disease experts put together the protocol. Discipline was negotiated for violating them, with the league and union reaching agreement on specific fines for players. The NFL sets penalties for franchises in breach of protocol.
What are the parameters to discipline the players?
They are broken down into several categories.
For any player who fails or refuses to fully cooperate with an NFL and/or NFLPA-led investigation regarding compliance: Up to $50,000 in one week’s salary. And for refusing to submit to the required virus test: $50,000.
For refusing to wear a tracking device when required: $14,650.
The gathering of an unaffiliated player for any reason with other players and/or members of club staff, when the team is “closed” due to the COVID-19 outbreak, is subject to a fine of $50,000 .
For any player who is not fully vaccinated, the $14,650 penalty applies to:
– Gatherings outside club facilities or team travel in groups of more than three players or other individuals.
– Engaging in personal meetings, drills and/or training activities with other players and/or staff outside club facilities.
– Attending an indoor nightclub (unless the player is wearing personal protective equipment and the club has no more than 10 people). or attending an indoor bar (except for taking food, or unless the player is wearing PPE and there are no more than 10 people at the bar).
– Gatherings of more than 15 people without players and all guests wearing masks or PPE, or where social distancing is impossible for more than fifteen people.
– Attending an indoor music concert/entertainment event. and participating in a professional sporting event (other than an applicable NFL game or event; or unless the player is seated in a separate section, such as a suit or owner’s box, is wearing PPE and more than 10 people in that separate section are not).
— Participation in an event that is prohibited by state and/or local regulations or other executive orders or by applicable laws due to COVID-19.
– refusing to wear a mask or PPE; and/or maintain physical distance in club facilities or during travel.
Which of the following did Rodgers and Lazard violate?
The NFL was not specific on that, but Rodgers was seen without a mask at the Packers’ facility, especially during news conferences.
Rodgers, who said in August that he was “immunized” against COVID-19, said on Tuesday: “I made some comments that people thought were misleading. Anyone who felt confused by those comments I take full responsibility for those comments.”
Rodgers said on Friday he sought alternative treatment rather than an NFL-approved vaccination because they are allergic to an ingredient in Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. He did not specify the ingredients.
What if a player does not cooperate with a league or team investigation?
The NFL may impose discipline on players or those who knowingly provide misleading or incomplete information during contact tracing interviews. The maximum penalty amount for a one-week sports check is up to $50,000 for the first offense. But there may be discipline later for further offences.
Can a player appeal for any disciplinary action?
Yes — based on lack of justifiable cause; whether the player was actually involved in such conduct; whether the punishment imposed by the NFL was necessary for that conduct; and a variety of other acceptable bases.
Rodgers appealed the decision not to accept his treatment as equivalent to a vaccination but lost the appeal. He has yet to appeal against Tuesday’s fine and has not indicated that he will.
What will be the discipline for repeat offenders?
Repeated violations will result in increased discipline of players, including conduct injurious to the game. A maximum fine of one week’s pay and/or suspension without pay of four weeks or less shall be imposed.
Why are teams penalized?
All 32 NFL teams need to ensure a safe environment not only at their own facilities but also at stadiums and during travel. They are also required to supervise the actions of players and staff, which includes taking video round the clock at their facilities.
Players must also inform the team if they have been vaccinated, and must follow specific protocols for those who have not. The NFL found that the Packers did not handle these situations properly.
Could Green Bay lose the draft substitute for these breaches?
Yes, but it’s not likely. After several teams were discovered to have violated protocol in 2020 – leading to the COVID-19 outbreak and, at times, schedule adjustments – only one, New Orleans, was relegated from the 2022 sixth-round pick. The Saints were sanctioned by the League for inconsistent association. The Packers are not quoted for this.
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