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Saints: Does the NFL have a double standard in COVID-19 punishment?

NOLA Saints (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
NOLA Saints (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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As the NFL is in the middle of a second investigation of the Saints breaking COVID-19 protocols, we take a look at how the NFL has handled other such situations and the difference in punishments they’ve handed out.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jack Baer, SaintsWire John Sigler, NFL’s Ian Rapoport, and NBC Sports’ Michael David Smith, the New Orleans Saints are facing punishment from the NFL for a third time this year in relation to COVID-19 league protocols being violated.

The NFL has previously fined the Saints $750,000 for their first two offenses on top of stripping them of a seventh-round pick. The first two offenses had to do with celebrating in the locker room without masks where the NFL found out via players released videos.

Since that time, several team’s videos have surfaced showing them participating in the same act that got the Saints’ second violation and loss of a seventh-round draft pick. However, those acts have yet to be punished with the same emphasis.

The Steelers, being just one example among many, were fined $350,000 for players and coached failing to wear masks throughout a game. The New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders were fined in the same manner for the same issue.

However, the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers were both seen participating in maskless celebrations after a win where the NFL did not hand down a punishment. For the same action, the Saints’ seventh-round draft pick was confiscated.

On top of that, teams like the Tenessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens had outbreaks so fierce that they forced the NFL to reschedule bye weeks and team’s games moving things around. Even after that, the NFL only handed out cash fines.

If you recall, the Denver Broncos quarterback room was completely quarantined for their game against the Saints where they were forced to start a practice squad wide receiver at the most important position because of broken protocols.

Stories like this are in abundance from almost every team throughout this year; yet, the only teams to have currently lost draft picks are the Saints and the Raiders — even though teams have been found breaking protocols two, three, or four times.

Now, the NFL wants to go back at New Orleans for potential protocol violations with the Alvin Kamara situation where there was supposedly an unauthorized player in the team’s Tier 1 facility.

I do not have a problem with the league enforcing and punishing breaking the COVID-19 protocol. In fact, I think it is necessary for the league so they can make sure that teams are following the rules that the CDC and NFL have put in place to protect players.

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However, the double standard that the league has set as to how and when, and who to punish is the issue. Now, for them to try and take more from the Saints after just slapping other teams in the wrist for the same violations is appalling and impossible to oversee.

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