The Las Vegas Raiders are having some trouble listening. For the second time this season, Jon Gruden and the organization have been fined by the NFL for COVID-19 protocol violations. This time they also lost a sixth round draft pick. Can you hear the league now?
In October the team was fined $250,000 and Gruden was fined $100,000. If the team didn't take it seriously then it's because it's just money and they've got a lot of it. This time they might learn their lesson because money can't buy draft picks. If they get fined again, it could cost them a pick that they would have used on a guy they would have expected to make their roster.
This is a pretty stiff price to pay for not taking COVID seriously, but it's not surprising the NFL is jumping on this opportunity to make an example out of the Raiders. It's likely at some point this week, as the San Francisco and Green Bay both put players on the COVID list, that the NFL had to consider canceling a stand-alone primetime game.
When a game is in danger of cancelation / postponement on Sunday, things can be moved around, but if they have to cancel a Thursday Night Football game or Monday Night Football 36 hours or so before kickoff, there's nothing they can do. Not to mention the fact that they are now halfway through the season and if the wrong team suddenly has an outbreak, they're going finally start shifting the postseason.
Teams had better take notice, because the league certainly has. The country is spiraling out of control with 120,000+ new cases today. It is only going to get more difficult for players - and regular people in general! - to avoid exposure. It's going to affect more teams and games and most importantly to the league, dollars.