Story at a glance
- Sunday NFL games revealed some team personnel forgoing the mandatory face mask requirement.
- Executive Vice President Troy Vincent called those actions “careless” and warned it could jeopardize the entire 2020 season.
As professional sports work to find ways to continue their seasons in a sustainable way against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL told team staff and personnel on Monday that wearing masks are mandatory while working on the sidelines, according to USAToday.
Officials continued to explain that to not do so would put NFL colleagues and the entire 2020 season “at risk.”
This announcement comes following several games on Sunday in which team members other than the players were not seen wearing masks. One instance was during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams, in which Rams coach Sean McVay was spotted on camera without a mask.
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Troy Vincent, an NFL official who oversees football operations across the league, reportedly sent a memo stressing the importance of public health compliance to each of the 32 clubs. Vincent said that teams “must remain vigilant and disciplined in following the processes and protocols put in place by not only the league, union and clubs, but also by state and local governments.”
These rules extend to anyone with bench area access, including coaches and medical staff.
“Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs,” the memo reportedly read. “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.”
Vincent did not include a specific punishment in the memo, but USAToday writes it could extend from fines to ejection from the sidelines.
2020 NFL health protocols, developed in conjunction with infectious disease experts with current government regulations in mind, require both mask-wearing and physical distancing along the sidelines.
“All individuals with Bench Area access, except for players, shall be required to wear masks at all times,” the rules state. “Coaches must wear either a mask, neck gaiter, and/or face shield to satisfy this obligation. Players who are not substituting into the game are strongly encouraged to wear masks on the sidelines, except for at games played in stadiums with state or local regulations that make the wearing of masks mandatory. In such cases, players on the sidelines must wear masks."