New England Patriots

The New England Patriots practice during training camp on August 2, 2019 in Foxborough, Mass. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

By 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff

The NFL is already implementing a variety of coronavirus protocols, as the league inches toward shortened 2020 training camps and preseason schedules. A new report suggests that it could take the extra step of punishing players who violate the COVID-19 rules.

According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, players on an NFLPA call with reps and medical director Thom Mayer were warned that “they could be fined for conduct detrimental if they are found to have engaged in ‘reckless’ behavior away from the team facility, such as eating out in restaurants and using ride-sharing services.” In the context of fighting the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed over 120,000 lives in the United States alone, such activities are generally considered high-risk.

The league and players association are also reportedly working on custom-made protective face shields for players to be worn while both playing and practicing or working around team facilities.

Most of the new details addressed in the call concern an emphasis on “virtual” meetings, which teams have conducted throughout the offseason. Media access is also expected to be limited, and any media who are admitted to facilities would be subject to the same coronavirus protocols as players and team personnel.

Players reportedly prefer daily testing during training camp, but the current proposal is to test every other day. They are also being told that they will have to commute from their homes to facilities during training camp, rather than stay in hotels.

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