Advertisement
Baltimore Ravens

Ravens fined $250,000 by NFL for COVID-19 protocol violations linked to outbreak, won’t lose draft pick

The NFL has fined the Ravens $250,000 for COVID-19 protocol violations linked to a teamwide outbreak that forced 23 players to spend time on the reserve/COVID-19 list, a league source confirmed.

The outbreak, which began in late November and also infected coaches, staff members and family members, forced the league to reschedule two of the Ravens’ games, including thrice postponing the team’s prime-time Thanksgiving matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Advertisement

In a statement released by the team in early December, president Dick Cass said that “at least four unique strains” of COVID-19 entered the Ravens’ facility in Owings Mills. Three were stopped before spreading, Cass said, but a fourth was a “highly contagious” strain of COVID-19 and noncompliance with NFL protocols led to the outbreak, one of the worst in sports.

The Ravens previously announced that one staff member had been disciplined for their conduct. Multiple sources said head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders had not routinely worn a proximity tracker or mask, as required by league rules, and had not reported potential COVID-19 symptoms as he worked with players. According to multiple reports, Saunders returned from a 30-day suspension this past week and was on the sideline during Sunday’s 27-13 win over the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium.

Advertisement

The NFL’s punishment stopped short of a forfeiture of a draft pick, which has been the punishment for repeat offenders this season. The Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints, who were each fined $500,000, lost sixth- and seventh-round draft picks, respectively, after multiple protocol violations.

The fine was also less severe than the one levied against the Tennessee Titans, whose own outbreak forced the league to reschedule several games early in the season, including the Ravens’ Week 8 home game against the Steelers. Tennessee was fined $350,000 for its noncompliance. The New England Patriots were also fined $350,000 for their own violations.

The Ravens last Monday activated rookie safety Geno Stone, the last player linked to the outbreak, from the reserve/COVID-19 list and no players are currently on the list.

The NFL Network first reported the news of the Ravens’ punishment.


Advertisement