NFL To Pull Draft Picks For Teams Who Violate League's Mask Protocol

The NFL released another league-wide memo on Wednesday that detailed further punishments for coaches who continue to violate its COVID-19 mask rules. After three weeks of active play, the NFL is now threatening to suspend teams that fail to comply with the face-covering regulations or force them to forfeit their draft picks, according to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter.

The memo, which Schefter called "strongly worded," was sent out to coaching staff, general managers, and team executives by the league's Vice President Troy Vincent. He stated that the rules are put in place under the recommendations of both the NFL's and separate medical advisors.

In the memo, Vincent wrote that medical experts have "emphasized the need to remain vigilant and disciplined in following the processes and protocols put in place by agreement with the NFLPA as well as by state and local governments."

"We are only through Week 3 of the season," he continued. "If we are to play a full and uninterrupted season, we all must remain committed to our efforts to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. Inconsistent adherence to health and safety protocols... will put the 2020 season at risk."

The league sent an initial warning on September 14 to emphasize the importance of face coverings. In the statement, which was sent to all 32 teams, the NFL stated that all coaches are required to wear a face-covering that covers their nose and mouth at all times while on the sidelines of the games, and failure to do so would result in significant fines to both the organization and the individual at fault.

A team's staff members have the option of sporting a mask, neck gaiter, or a face shield.

(L-R) Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys talk prior to the game at CenturyLink Field on September 27, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.
Getty Images | Abbie Parr

According to a report from TMZ, head coaches Sean Payton, Pete Carroll, and Kyle Shanahan are just a few of the coaches who have racked up fines totaling over $300,000. The individuals were each fined $100,000 while the team incurred a $250,000 fine.

After Carolina Panthers Matt Rhule was called out numerous times for negating the protocol, he vowed to be better in weeks to come.

"It was different for me to wear a mask and talk into the mic and be heard," he admitted to a reporter after a game.

The league is hoping that the increased penalties will encourage compliance from those required to adhere to the policy in order to protect the health of themselves and others around them, as well as set a proper example for viewers tuning into the games.