The Baltimore Ravens were fined $250,000 by the NFL for violating COVID-19 protocols, a person with direct knowledge of the punishment told The Associated Press on Monday.
The team was not docked draft picks for the violations, which led to a coronavirus outbreak and the rescheduling of the Ravens’ Thanksgiving night game against Pittsburgh.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discipline has not been announced.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Monday that the team had been fined for the violation of protocol.
“We respect the league’s process and discipline process, and we accepted the discipline,” said Harbaugh, who was wearing a mask during his weekly Zoom interview the media.
In Baltimore’s outbreak, 23 players wound up on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list, with several coaches and team personnel also affected. The game with the archrival Steelers eventually was played the following Wednesday, and the Ravens’ matchup with Dallas was moved to Dec. 8 in a rare Tuesday game.
The Ravens suspended strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders for failing to report coronavirus symptoms and for not following protocol within the facility.
Saunders returned to work last week, according to Harbaugh, who added, “Beyond that, really, I have no comments on it. We never comment on internal discipline at all, whoever it might be, and we’re just moving forward.”
In the wake of the virus outbreak at the team training facility, team president Dick Cass addressed the issue in a statement issued on Dec. 5.
“Despite our best efforts, the protocol is only as effective as our weakest link,” Cass said. “With a dangerous virus like this, everyone must comply with the protocol to avoid infecting many. We now know that not everyone at the Ravens followed the protocol thoroughly.”
Cass said four strains of COVID-19 were discovered at the team facility. Three were contained, the fourth was not.
“We cannot undo what has occurred. But, we can do our best to learn from what has happened and be vigilant moving forward to ensure that it does not happen again,” Cass said. “As the recent experience has shown us, this virus does not need a large opening to spread within an organization, and 99% compliance is not a passing grade when dealing with this virus.”
Four other teams this year have been fined for multiple protocol violations. The Las Vegas Raiders lost a sixth-round selection in 2021 and were fined $500,000, while the New Orleans Saints were stripped of a seventh-rounder and fined $500,000.
New England and Tennessee previously were fined $350,000 but did not have a draft choice taken away.
The Ravens’ fine was first reported by NFL Network.
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