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Waller, Raiders teammates fined for attending gala without masks

Updated October 5, 2020 - 3:37 pm

Darren Waller on Monday received the largest fine among several Raiders sanctioned for participating in the tight end’s charity fundraiser in Henderson last week.

Waller was informed he had been docked $30,000 in a letter from the NFL Management Council for violating the league’s stringent COVID-19 protocols during the gala at DragonRidge Country Club.

Videos and photos of the function, which raised more than $300,000 for Waller’s foundation, showed several players attending the event maskless while among the general public.

Quarterback Derek Carr was among several of Waller’s teammates to receive a $15,000 fine for his participation after he was photographed awarding a jersey to an attendee and shaking his hand. At least 10 players are confirmed to have attended and all have been fined.

“I’m well aware of that,” coach Jon Gruden said of the league’s decision. “I know our players are going to handle that individually. I know they regret any harm they may have caused. They’re very sensitive about it. We’ll handle it the right way.”

The announcement of the discipline comes on the same day the league sent a memo to all 32 teams threatening punishment up to and including forfeiture of games if new measures aren’t followed.

League officials are concerned after a coronavirus outbreak caused the postponement of one game and the moving of another back a day.

“Protocol violations that result in virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game,” commissioner Roger Goodell stated in the memo obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Several new protocols were put in place along with the threat of harsher discipline.

The league will now require a lengthier process for free-agent tryouts and limit the number permitted per week, ban gatherings outside the club facility and institute a video-monitoring system to ensure compliance.

“Simply put, compliance is mandatory,” Goodell wrote. “The consequences of rescheduling or even missing games are obvious. Our fans will be deprived of games. Competitive inequities will be introduced into our season. Players will not be paid for games not played and clubs will similarly suffer financial consequences.”

According to a league source, the fines were issued to the Raiders players under the previous guidelines for engaging in conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game. They were fined for attending an indoor event and one that was prohibited by local regulation.

Their actions potentially compromised not only the safety of the players, but the safety of others, both on their club and other clubs, as well as the league’s ability to ensure that NFL games are played in a safe and fair manner.

It’s not the first time the Raiders have been penalized for violating the league’s health and safety protocols this year.

The Raiders were fined $50,000 on Saturday after a league investigation concluded an authorized person was allowed to enter the team’s locker room after a “Monday Night Football” win over the Saints last month.

That sanction came on the heels of a $250,000 fine levied against the organization for Gruden’s repeated violations of the league’s sideline mask mandate. Gruden was also docked $100,000 individually.

“I’m going to reiterate that I’m very proud of our players and our staff and the job we’ve done in battling this virus,” Gruden said. “And it will continue.”

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

NFL COVID Protocol Compliance by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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