The New Orleans Saints are suffering the consequences after not following new pandemic guidelines put in place by the NFL.
The NFL is issuing the Saints a fine of $500,000 and stripping them of their seventh-round draft pick for not wearing masks during their postgame celebrations. The team was celebrating after a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9.
In the video that’s come to light, several New Orleans players and staff are seen dancing in the locker room. Additionally, no one’s wearing a facial covering during the celebration.
Saints coach Sean Payton, linebacker Demario Davis and quarterback Jameis Winston are among those seen dancing and celebrating in the video. Winston made his season debut in the victory over his former team
The organization’s not happy about the discipline, and have already appealed the NFL’s decision. The Saints believe that other teams are celebrating maskless, just like they did, but are not facing punishments nor being reprimanded accordingly. New Orleans believes that they’re the only ones receiving this harsh punishment, Sports Illustrated reports.
Several other videos were posted that showed the post-game celebration, but have since been taken down after immediately getting attention from the NFL.
The Saints Are Now Sinners in the NFL’s Eyes
An NFL league source says it’s not the dancing that the league has an issue with. It was that these actions were taking place without anyone wearing a mask. Furthermore, this isn’t the first time that the Saints have come under fire for violating COVID-19 protocols. The NFL’s issued previous warnings stating that if these actions continued, the team would suffer the consequences, the source tells ESPN.
However, this isn’t the first time that the Saints have come under scrutiny. Saints head coach Sean Payton was fined $100,000. Plus, the organization $250,000 because he was seen without a mask during their Week 2 loss in Las Vegas.
The punishment is typically more severe for repeat offenders.
Patriots and Raiders Also Receive NFL Punishment
The New Orleans Saints are not the first to receive this sort of discipline from the NFL. The league took similar actions against the Raiders. Las Vegas was fined $500,000, and a $150,000 fine was sent to coach Jon Gruden. The Raiders were also stripped of a sixth-round pick, and are also repeat offenders.
Additionally, the New England Patriots violated COVID-19 protocols. The franchise was fined $350,000 in relation to positive tests of Cam Newton and others.