Sep 13, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera discusses a call with the referee against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

NFL to penalize talking to refs without a mask

Any coach who approaches a referee without wearing a proper face covering now can be slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

A memo sent to teams Friday from Perry Fewell, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating administration, authorizes officials to throw the flags. It is a response to complaints from the NFL Referees Association about coaches and other sideline personnel pulling down their masks to yell at officials from close range.

“We have seen multiple occasions where head coaches have removed their masks to communicate with game officials during games,” Fewell wrote in the memo. “Doing so creates unnecessary, increased risk for the game official, the head coach, and others, and is inconsistent with the requirement that face coverings be worn at all times. …

“Consistent with all other individuals on the sideline, game officials are entitled to your respect as they perform their job duties during the pandemic.”

The league’s COVID-19 protocols require everyone on the sideline to wear a face covering except for players who are actively involved in the game. The referees only remove their masks to announce penalties.

The NFL fined five coaches $100,000 each — and their teams $250,000 — for failing to wear masks properly in the early weeks of the season.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.


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