NBC News - The New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots have been ordered to pay major fines for violating the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols, the official NFL website said Sunday.
The Patriots have to pay a $350,000 fine after quarterback Cam Newton’s Covid-19 diagnosis made the league push back a Week 4 game between the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, NFL.com reported.
Newton tested positive for the coronavirus in early October. "I never will question God's reasoning, just will always respond with 'YES LORD!!'" he said at the time of his diagnosis.
The Saints face a steeper fine of $500,000 for a “maskless locker room celebration” that followed their Week 9 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the league’s site. The team, which reportedly also held a maskless meeting, was also docked a seventh round draft pick in addition to the fine.
The Saints had posted videos of the celebration on social media, which clued the league into the policy violations.
The NFL previously issued an $100,000 fine to New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and a $250,000 fine to the team in September after Payton, who announced in March he had tested positive for coronavirus, did not wear a mask on the sidelines during a game.
The news comes as the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos are also reportedly under investigation for Covid-19 policy violations.
The Ravens have more than 20 member of the organization on the Reserve/Covid-19 list — including MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson — after a team outbreak and released a statement November 25 saying the team disciplined a staff member for conduct surrounding the recent outbreak.
The spike in cases both within the NFL and nationally prompted the league to close all facilities next Monday and Tuesday in an effort to curb the spread.