As the NFL continues its investigation into the Tennessee Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak, the team is reportedly looking at facing at least some sort of punishment for violating protocols, and it could be significant.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, the Titans are likely to face a punishment for their failure to follow COVID-19 protocols.
Two sources familiar with a joint NFL and NFLPA investigation into the recent COVID-19 outbreak within the Tennessee Titans have told Yahoo Sports the franchise is expected to face some form of penalties stemming from safety protocol violations already uncovered during an ongoing review.
One source said league sanctions against the Titans were likely “not a matter of if, but when and how severe” and that the NFL and union jointly believe the franchise violated COVID-19 safety protocols before and during the team’s Week 4 emergency bye, which ultimately postponed a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is also reporting that the Titans could be facing a punishment that ends up being “historic” in nature.
The Titans already faced a potentially significant punishment for alleged protocol breaches that fueled an outbreak of COVID-19. Given the news that the team apparently gathered to practice last week after expressly being told not to do so, the Titans could be facing a consequence the likes of which the NFL has never seen.
There’s buzz in league circles of possible “historic” punishment for the Titans given the various violations.
“Especially if Troy [Vincent] was the one that told them not to practice,” one league source opined.
The workouts in question involving Titans players happened on September 30, according to Titans beat writer Paul Kuharsky. We know of at least two of them, one involving offensive players and one involving defensive backs.
However, it’s important to note that the NFL sent a memo out to all 32 teams on October 1 that forbid players from getting together for workouts when a team’s facility is closed due to an outbreak.
If the Titans weren’t notified prior to that memo that workouts away from the facility were forbidden in the midst of an outbreak, then they technically weren’t in violation of that particular protocol.
But there is more to be concerned about here than just the workouts.
The NFL reportedly has pictures of Titans players not wearing masks while at the team’s facility. The league is also looking into whether or not contact tracing devices were consistently worn and if “symptoms were timely reported,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
One way or the other, a punishment for the Titans is looking more and more likely, but how significant the punishment ends up being remains to be seen.