Goodell: Forfeits possible for NFL virus protocol violations

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New England Patriots defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. celebrates after he recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is warning the league's 32 teams of penalties including potential forfeits of games for violations of COVID-19 protocols that force changes in the schedule.

In a memo sent to the teams Monday after a conference call involving NFL and club executives, Goodell reiterated the need to adhere fully to all of the league's health and safety guidelines.

“Protocol violations that result in virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game,” Goodell wrote in the memo obtained by The Associated Press.

“Simply put, compliance is mandatory. Now is the time to recommit ourselves to our protocols and best practices for the duration of the season.”

The NFL was forced to reschedule Sunday's game between the Steelers and Titans when Tennessee had the league's first coronavirus outbreak, which has affected 20 organization members, including 10 players. That game was moved to Week 7, causing adjustments that also impacted the Baltimore Ravens.

And New England's game at Kansas City was moved from Sunday to Monday night after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, as did a Chiefs practice squad player.

Goodell noted that violators of the protocols have been disciplined. Several coaches have been fined $100,000 each and their clubs fined $250,000 for improper use of face coverings, the Las Vegas Raiders were fined $50,000 for allowing an unauthorized team employee into the locker room following a game and on Monday the Raiders had 10 players docked a total of $175,000 for appearing at a function where face coverings were not used, nor was social distancing.

“Complacency is our shared opponent,” Goodell wrote.