USATSI

The 2020 NFL season is not even a week old but the league is already reminding teams that players and coaches need to wear masks on the sidelines. Yes, so far the league’s coronavirus health and safety plan is working — no team has reported any kind of coronavirus outbreak. But while it has been good news for the first three days of games, the league emphasized on Monday the importance of its face covering policy.

NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent sent a memo to all 32 teams, reminding everyone how vital wearing face coverings is, and warning that discipline could be coming for anyone who fails to adhere to the rules. Potential penalties for those that do not adhere to the rules were not announced.

“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 memo read. “Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs… Becoming careless or ignoring face covering and physical distancing requirements will put the 2020 season at risk.” 

The memo noted that the Game Day Protocol “reflects the advice of infectious disease experts, club medical staffs and local and state governmental regulations requires all individuals with bench area access (including coaches and members of the club medical staff) to wear face coverings at all times.”

Many coaches took different approaches to covering up in Week1. While Andy Reid wore a shield during the Chiefs’ win, Rams coach Sean McVay had his mask off for most of the Rams’ game against the Cowboys on Sunday night. 

This season, anyone not a player in the “Bench Area,” which is defined as each sideline between the 30-yard lines, is required to wear masks at all times.

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