What happens in Vegas gets you fined a whole lot of money, apparently.
The Las Vegas Raiders are enjoying their first season in their new home but there’s a cost to doing business The Raider Way no matter where the franchise is located.
Per Ian Rapoport, the Raiders were recently fined $50,000 by the NFL for allowing a “non-credentialed employee into the locker room” after their 34-24 win over the Saints two Mondays ago.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 3, 2020
No word on who that employee was and how the NFL found out about it.
The reason the fine is so high is that this is considered a COVID-19 violation by the franchise. While some might roll their eyes at such a thing, one look around the league, where the Titans are currently dealing with an outbreak and the Pats-Chiefs game needed to be postponed, shows the vital importance of maintaining good standards to prevent further spread. The last thing the league wants is an avalanche of postponed games (although it may still get one), so any franchise that is going to flagrantly not care about protecting players and coaches is going to hear about it.
It’s also the latest in a string of big-dollar fines for the Raiders this season related to COVID. Jon Gruden was fined $100,000 for failing to wear a proper mask on the sideline during that same game and the Raiders received a $250,000 fine as part of the violation as well.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 29, 2020
Meanwhile, multiple Raiders players were recently seen walking around a crowded charity event without masks, including QB Derek Carr and TE Jason Witten. Carr defended the appearance by saying the players “signed waivers” and used hand sanitizer for an event that raised money for an important cause. But in light of recent events around the league, it feels like a half-hearted attempt to justify putting their teammates and many other people at risk. Plus, there’s no reason they couldn’t raise money while wearing masks and protecting people.
Clearly, the Raiders aren’t taking COVID very seriously. They seem to be going through the general motions but someone high up in the organization, be it Gruden or owner Mark Davis, has clearly taken their foot off the game in terms of policing the rest of the franchise. And now they’re dealing with the blowback in the form of ever-rising fines.
Even so, the fines are a drop in the bucket compared to what the franchise generates, so it’s likely not going to be the thing that incentivizes them to take things more seriously. That will have to come in the form of losing key players to positive COVID tests, which, based on the way the franchise is acting, will probably happen any day now.