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NFL fines Raiders, docks draft pick for coronavirus violations

Updated November 5, 2020 - 8:34 pm

The Raiders’ repeated COVID-19 protocol violations and in particular the breakdowns surrounding Trent Brown’s positive test result two weeks ago will cost the organization dearly.

A person close to the situation on Thursday confirmed several reports that the NFL has fined the Raiders $500,000 and coach Jon Gruden $150,000 and stripped the Raiders of a sixth-round draft pick.

The Raiders can appeal the punishment. They have not responded to a request for comment.

It isn’t the first time the Raiders have run afoul of the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Gruden was fined $100,000 and the club $250,000 after a Week 2 home game against the New Orleans Saints because Gruden was not consistently wearing a mask on the sidelines.

The Raiders were fined an additional $50,000 for allowing a noncleared team employee into the locker room after the game.

Brown’s failure to consistently wear his tracking monitor at the team facility also cost four teammates a full week of practice, as they were deemed high-risk contacts of Brown’s after he tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago.

Also, Darren Waller was fined $30,000 and nine teammates, including quarterback Derek Carr, were docked $15,000 each for violating coronavirus protocols during a charity event for Waller’s foundation.

The fines came to light the same day Brown was placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time this season amid lingering issues from his bout with the virus last month, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

Brown probably won’t play Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers, but the team hopes he can return for the final eight games.

Brown was initially placed on the coronavirus reserve list in the days before the Raiders’ game Oct. 24 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was activated last Friday and returned to practice in preparation for Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns.

He was supposed to play, but a botched pregame intravenous injection resulted in air entering his bloodstream. He was scratched from the starting lineup and transported to a nearby hospital, where he spent the night before returning to Las Vegas. The Raiders defeated the Browns 16-6.

Gruden said Wednesday that Brown was in good spirits, but he did not elaborate on his status. Brown was not at practice Tuesday or Wednesday.

It’s rare, but some people who recover from the coronavirus experience additional symptoms, no matter how mild the case, according to the Mayo Clinic. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, headaches and joint pain. The virus can also cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs and brain.

Brown has played in two of seven games and accounted for 15 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. This is his second season with the Raiders, with whom he signed a lucrative four-year contract in March 2019.

He played 11 games last season and missed training camp before this season. He also injured his calf three plays into Las Vegas’ season opener against the Carolina Panthers, returning only for a 40-32 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in October.

Veteran swing tackle Sam Young started in Brown’s place against Cleveland, but left the game in the first half with a knee injury. Third-year tackle Brandon Parker replaced Young and played well enough to earn praise from Brown on Twitter.

Parker, who could play against the Chargers, said Brown has helped him “tremendously.”

“He’s always kind of been one of those guys. (He’s) at the top now obviously, so he’s not afraid to reach out to guys like myself and (third-year offensive tackle) Kolton (Miller), who are developing … to really give us pointers,” Parker said. “He’s been huge in helping me develop, along with everybody else.”

Reporter Adam Hill contributed to this report. Contact reporter Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com.

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