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Maskless Raiders players attend crowded indoor event as COVID-19 strikes NFL

Jason Owens
·3-min read

As the NFL managed the reality of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Tennessee Titans, news broke that Las Vegas Raiders players showed up to a crowded event full of maskless attendees on Monday.

Video surfaced Monday night of Raiders players at the charity event hosted by tight end Darren Waller.

Here’s maskless quarterback Derek Carr tossing a signed football to a donor in a crowded ballroom.

City officials investigating event

On Tuesday, Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that officials were looking into the event that was held at the DragonRidge Country Club in the Las Vegas suburb.

“We are currently investigating,” Richards said.

The absence of COVID-19 safety protocols presents potential violations of both Nevada restrictions and NFL policies.

Jason Witten reportedly among attendees

According to the Review-Journal, tight ends Jason Witten and Foster Moreau and backup quarterback Nathan Peterman were among the Raiders players to join Carr and Waller at the event to raise money to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

An attendee told the Review-Journal that Waller wore a mask throughout the event, while other players and attendees largely did not. According to the report, attendees packed into the event without filling out COVID-19 questionnaires or having their temperatures checked. It’s not clear if anyone was tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.

Mark Davis responds

The Raiders initially declined to comment on the event Tuesday morning before team owner Mark Davis provided a statement to the Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore.

“You don’t like seeing this,” Davis said. “I don’t know that it’s actually been built into our memories that you have to wear a mask.”

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr reacts at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Quarterback Derek Carr was caught on video in a crowded ballroom without a wearing a mask. (Ben Margot/AP File)

NFL dealing with first COVID-19 outbreak of season

Davis’ comment arrived after news broke that eight people, including three players, in the Tennessee Titans organization tested positive for COVID-19, the first outbreak in the league since it resumed play amid the pandemic. The news signaled a setback for the NFL as it attempts to successfully conduct a season outside the confines of a bubble.

Monday’s event isn’t the first case of the Raiders failing to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The NFL fined head coach Jon Gruden and the team a total of $350,000 after he failed to properly wear a mask during a game. On Sunday, Gruden wore a face covering on the Raiders’ sideline but failed to cover his mouth with it at times.

The NFL is also reportedly investigating the Raiders after for allegedly allowing a non-credentialed team employee into a postgame locker room in violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocol.

Larger COVID-19 concerns persist

Outside the NFL, medical experts forecast another wave of the coronavirus hitting the United States during the fall and winter as seasons change and safety protocols are relaxed. A forecast presented by the University of Washington in early September predicted the death toll in the United States to rise to 410,000 by the end of the year.

As of Tuesday, Johns Hopkins data showed that the United States claimed 7.18 million of the world’s 33.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 205,000 of the 1 million global deaths attributed to the pandemic.

Signs of another wave of the coronavirus have already hit Europe, with some countries reporting higher case totals than the initial surge of COVID-19 earlier in 2020. The new wave has also hit European sports, with Serie A soccer team Genoa reporting an outbreak of 14 cases in the club on Monday.

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