The NFL sent out an official statement Monday morning that emphasizes its requirement that all coaches must have face coverings on at all times while on the sidelines during games. The league threatened disciplinary actions for anyone who does not comply.
The written message came from executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, following the NFL's first week of competition. The direct statement was issued after compliance with the face covering rule varied among certain coaches in the league, and was mostly directed toward the head coaches because broadcasters typically focus more on them, compared to assistant coaches and training staff.
The memo started on a positive note, with Vincent expressing how admirable it was that the NFL was able to overcome numerous setbacks in order to continue playing in 2020. He also praised the people who played a role in altering the rules as a result of the coronavirus so that games would be able to occur on time.
According to Sports Illustrated, the NFL's Game Day Protocols require every person on the sideline, including coaches and medical staff, to wear a mask at all times. Failure to adhere to the protocols will result in an individual and/or team facing accountability measures.
According to ESPN, fines will be issued if coaches continue to violate the mask requirements while on the sidelines.
"We 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," the announcement said.
Throughout the day on Sunday, many coaches were seen wearing their face coverings incorrectly. In the Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys game, Rams head coach Sean McVay wore his covering below his chin for a majority of the competition. On the opposing side, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy wore his mask correctly over his mouth and nose throughout the entire game.
Coaches have the option of sporting a mask, neck gaiter, and/or a face shield. The memo also reminded teams and coaches that whichever option they choose to wear, it must fit securely over the mouth and nose in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Before the warning was released, many fans took notice of the numerous coaches wearing face coverings incorrectly, and pointed it out on Twitter.The NFL hopes that the new memo clears up any confusion staff members may have had regarding the correct way to wear a mask as well as the reasoning behind doing so.