AP source: NFL fines 3 coaches, clubs for unmasked coaches

National Sports

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

A person with knowledge of the punishment tells The Associated Press that at least three NFL head coaches have been fined $100,000 for violating the league’s rules that they wear face coverings on the sideline.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the league wasn’t announcing specific fines, said Denver’s Vic Fangio, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Seattle’s Pete Carroll were each docked $100,000. Their teams were fined $250,000 each.

More fines could be coming as several other coaches violated the league’s rules requiring coaches to wear coverings over their mouths and noses at all times. Players are exempt from these protocols.

Among the violators were Patriots coach Bill Belichick and both coaches in Monday night’s game, Jon Gruden of the Raiders and Sean Payton of the Saints.

Gruden wore his face mask like a chin strap and Payton wore his gaiter like a turtleneck.

The punishments come a week after the NFL warned all 32 teams in a memo about following the rules for wearing face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic lest they put the NFL season at risk.

Following the Raiders’ 34-24 win over the Saints on Monday night, Gruden, who last week said he felt the league’s memo was directed at him, revealed he’d had COVID-19 and apologized for violating the rules.

“I’m doing my best,” Gruden said. “I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine.”

If the fines doled out so far, which were earlier reported by ESPN and NFL Network, prove ineffective, the league could hand out stronger discipline.

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AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Josh Dubow contributed to this report.

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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