Raiders owner decries protocol punishment, files appeal
The Las Vegas Raiders are appealing the punishments they received from the NFL for violating COVID-19 protocols, with team owner Mark Davis taking sharp exception to the sanctions.
The league took away the Raiders’ 2021 sixth-round draft pick, fined the club $500,000 and fined head coach Jon Gruden $150,000 for what a source told ESPN were “brazen and repeated violations of (COVID-19) protocols.”
Davis responded in a Friday interview with ESPN: “The fines are draconian, but we will appeal them. Outside the organization, people have the wrong impression about the Raiders. We take it seriously. It’s unfortunate that certain things outside the protocol are the things being focused on, rather than the positive steps we’ve taken as an organization. …
“Jon and those guys are working their asses off every day. But at the same time, (the NFL) feels we’ve failed some of those mandates.”
Yahoo Sports and NFL Network reported Thursday that the punishments stemmed from right tackle Trent Brown’s positive COVID-19 test late last month. ESPN added that the sanctions also took into account Gruden regularly failing to wear a facemask, numerous Raiders players attending a large indoor charity event in September and the club allowing an unauthorized person into the locker room after a Sept. 21 win over the New Orleans Saints.
The Raiders previously were fined $250,000 and Gruden was fined $100,000 for his failure to wear a mask during the New Orleans game. Per ESPN, the Raiders’ fine total for coronavirus-related violations is nearly $1.2 million.
Brown originally went on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Oct. 21, prompting the club to send the entire offensive line home while launching contact tracing.
Brown was ready to return to the field Sunday at Cleveland, but he ended up hospitalized after air entered his bloodstream during a pregame IV. He landed back on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
The Raiders also ran afoul of the NFL when quarterback Derek Carr, tight end Jason Witten and several other players attended a Sept. 28 fundraising event hosted by tight end Darren Waller’s foundation in Henderson, Nev. Photos were posted online of players, without masks, mingling with event guests.
Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the fact, “We obviously take responsibility for this. You don’t like seeing this. I don’t know that it’s actually been built into our memories that you have to wear a mask. Our organization takes it very seriously.”
The NFL issued $350,000 to the Titans late last month after the Tennessee organization had 24 positive COVID-19 tests. However, even though two Titans games were postponed, Tennessee wasn’t docked a draft pick.
–Field Level Media