In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and preserve their hopes for a 2020 season, both the NFL and individual teams have put protocols in place to keep their facilities and operations as safe and as sanitary as possible. But according to a report from Yahoo Sports, it’s the coaches who are among the biggest rule benders.
Citing 11 anonymous sources from within organizations, the outlet’s Charles Robinson said a handful of coaches don’t believe the virus to be real, making it difficult for them to grasp the importance of following safety protocol. One source called out coaches on the defensive side of the ball for blatantly going against established guidelines.
“I’ve seen our defensive coaches with their masks pulled down, working like shoulder-to-shoulder together. Which, you know, we’ve been told over and over to absolutely not do that.”
Another staffer claimed they could have reported the head coach for violations 10 times already.
One employee commented that the players have been really good about following the new protocols, but their coaches are not doing their part. One example given was the head coach ignoring the arrows in the hallways, put in place to direct foot traffic and decrease close contact inside of buildings.
“He was hugging all the players when they first got in [to the facility]. He’s close to people pretty much all the time. He’s definitely the biggest rulebreaker. Pretty much everyone else is following the rules.”
The developments within the Miami Marlins organization and the MLB have not gone unnoticed by the NFL. The report noted that all 11 sources interviewed acknowledged that the baseball club has been brought up when discussing safety measures for their own teams.
An employee said the nature of those talks was not to be “that guy.”
“Don’t be the one who blows it for everyone,” they said.
A few sources informed Robinson that their teams even have a number to call to report these COVID-19 safety violations in confidentiality. One staffer balked at the idea of ever using it to blow the whistle on a coach, however.
“It’s supposed to be anonymous, but I wouldn’t take that chance,” said the employee.
A few employees of one club even nicknamed the phone number “the snitch line.”
With training camps and offseason activities now underway, the regular season is slated to begin September 10 when the defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Houston Texans to Arrowhead Stadium. While the league plans to play its full 17-week season, multiple players have already opted out of participation, citing COVID-19 concerns.