Saints Fined $500K, Lose Draft Pick for Not Wearing Masks During Postgame Celebration
The New Orleans Saints are reportedly being fined by the NFL $500,000 and will have to forfeit next year's seventh-round draft pick because players weren't wearing masks during their postgame celebrations after beating Tampa Bay in Week 9.
The Saints organization is not happy about the discipline and has already appealed the league's ruling. The Saints believe other teams across the league have celebrated victories without masks, but yet have not been hit like it was.
After the team's 38-3 thrashing of NFC South foe Tampa Bay, several Saints players along with the team posted celebration videos from their postgame locker room. Head coach Sean Payton, linebacker Demario Davis and quarterback Jameis Winston, were among those seen dancing and celebrating in the video posted to Instagram by receiver Tre'Quan Smith.
The Saints no longer have any of its videos of locker room celebration posted on the team's official Twitter account.
"It was actions in the video with unmasked players in the locker room after the game," a league source told ESPN's Mike Triplett about the penalty. "The team also had previous violations and was provided ample warning that further actions would result in escalated discipline."
Earlier this season, the league fined the Las Vegas Raiders $500,00 along with head coach Jon Gruden, who was fined $150,000 for COVID-19 protocol violations. The team was also stripped of its 2021 sixth-round pick.
The NFL sent out a memo back on November 3 with updated COVID-19 protocols that read in part: "All players and staff must wear masks or double-layered gaiters in the locker room on gameday -- prior to the game, during halftime, and post-game."