Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is reportedly pretty peeved that the game between his team and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was allowed to happen on Sunday.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootball Talk, Gruden is “livid” that the game wasn’t postponed and rescheduled due to the team’s COVID-19 issues. The Raiders spent most of last week practicing without their five starting offensive linemen after Trent Brown was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Denzelle Good and Kolton Miller followed after contact tracing revealed they had been in close contact with Brown and needed to enter quarantine.
Florio reported that Gruden believes the game should have been postponed so his lineman could have more time to prepare.
Dream on, Jon
Gruden may be “livid,” but that may just be his persecution complex acting up. The NFL didn’t treat the Raiders differently than any other team.
Teams like the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans had games postponed and rescheduled due to larger scale outbreaks that required the closing of their entire facilities. No one on those teams was allowed to practice for days on end, and their entire teams played games with limited practice time once their facilities were able to reopen.
The Raiders, on the other hand, didn’t have to close their practice facility, and they didn’t experience an outbreak even close to the same level as the Patriots and Titans. It’s true that those four offensive lineman, who were officially cleared to play on Sunday after several negative tests, didn’t get to practice with the team all week, but Gruden was under no obligation to start them if he felt they weren’t ready. The NFL’s COVID-19 protocols gives teams more flexibility with practice squad players, so Gruden had options. He just chose not to use them.
Gruden’s anger is even more ridiculous when you consider why those four lineman were on the reserve/COVID-19 list to begin with. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Sunday that a NFL/NFLPA investigation found that Brown, Hudson, Jackson, Good and Miller had all gathered in close quarters without wearing masks, which is a direct violation of the COVID-19 protocols.
Gruden has previously been fined for ignoring COVID-19 mask rules, as have several of his players after they showed up to a charity event without masks. So here’s a little advice for him if he wants to avoid this situation in the future: make sure the rules are followed at all times. The NFL has no sympathy for teams that ignore the COVID-19 protocols, and neither should anyone else.
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