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Jon Gruden fined $100K for violating NFL mask protocols

Updated September 22, 2020 - 5:21 pm

Raiders coach Jon Gruden vowed to do his best to follow the NFL’s mask protocols after being caught several times on camera during “Monday Night Football” without a covering on his nose and mouth.

The league gave Gruden — along with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton — an expensive reminder Tuesday, fining them $100,000 apiece for not wearing face masks during the game. The Raiders and Saints also were fined $250,000 each.

The harsh discipline came a day after Gruden stunned the media during his postgame videoconference Monday night by casually dropping the news that he had the coronavirus this year.

He wasn’t interested in elaborating Tuesday, a day after the Raiders opened Allegiant Stadium with a 34-24 victory over the Saints.

“I don’t want to get into it,” he said. “It wasn’t pleasant.”

Gruden expressed frustration with reporting from the NFL Network in early August that he and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia had pulled a prank by telling the team Gruden had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“It was reported that I made up that I had the virus, and it really ticked me off because I would never do something like that,” Gruden said. “It’s a very serious matter, and obviously I’m sensitive about it.”

Gruden declined to elaborate on specifics of his illness. He didn’t say when he was diagnosed, but a report said it was shortly before training camp.

“It was a tough ordeal, that’s for sure,” he said Tuesday. “Just like everybody else that’s had it.”

Gruden and Payton, who had the coronavirus in March, brought the total of coaches fined for violating mask protocols to five.

Seattle’s Pete Carroll, Denver’s Vic Fangio and San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan each was fined $100,000 on Monday.

Gruden insists he is trying to follow the league mandate on coaches wearing masks during games, though several times during Monday’s broadcast, just like last week at Carolina, cameras caught Gruden on the sideline with his mask pulled down around his chin.

“I’m calling plays,” he said after Monday’s game. “I just want to communicate in these situations, and if I get fined, I’ll have to pay the fine, but I’m very sensitive about that, and I apologize.

“I’m doing my best.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attended Monday’s game at Allegiant Stadium and viewed the action from the press box.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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