BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL is not messing around with violations of the COVID-19 protocols this season.
New England learned that on Monday, when it was revealed the Cam Newton’s out-of-town COVID tests were not recognized by the league and thus required him to spend five days outside of the facility before returning to work.
The rest of the NFL is learning this, too.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that since training camps opened, the league issued written warnings to about 120 players and administered fines to 25 players “for refusal to wear a mask and/or Kinexon tracking device.”
This matter became known on Thursday, when Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie tweeted out the letter sent to him by the NFL. The letter spelled out the times and dates of the times he did not wear a mask when he was supposed to be wearing one.
— Isaiah McKenzie (@_IsaiahMcKenzie) August 26, 2021
Pelissero reported that an NFL official witnessed those violations firsthand. The official was in Buffalo to present the NFL’s rules on COVID protocols.
The NFL generally issues written warnings first, then fines thereafter. Cole Beasley was fined for a violation caught on video Tuesday. Isaiah McKenzie's violations Wednesday were seen in person by NFL officials, who happened to be there to give a presentation on … COVID rules.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 26, 2021
As Pelissero noted, wide receiver Cole Beasley — who’s spent much of the past several months sending tweets about why he chose not to receive any COVID-19 vaccinations — was also fined. Beasley volunteered that information on his own after seeing McKenzie’s tweet.
Don’t worry they got me too. But I was wearing a mask when I was in close contact with fully vaxxed trainer who tested positive and still got sent home. So what’s the point of the mask anyways? Meanwhile I’m here still testing negative and can’t come back. Make it make sense. https://t.co/VGzoy0ljb4
— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) August 26, 2021
With jobs, games, and dollars at stake, the NFL is putting a lot of responsibility on players to follow protocols. And some strict enforcement of those rules this summer is clearly part of that plan, as the NFL looks to drive home its message before the real season begins.