The NFL fined the New Orleans Saints $500,000 and revoked their seventh-round draft pick as a penalty for not wearing masks during celebrations after a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this month, ESPN reported Sunday.

The Saints have appealed the decision, saying other teams have celebrated in a similar fashion without receiving such a penalty.

However, the league earlier this season fined the Las Vegas Raiders and their head coach, stripping the team of a sixth-round pick for coronoavirus violations. The New England Patriots were also fined for not adhering to the NFL’s rules concerning COVID-19.

A league source told ESPN the penalty to the Saints was meted out after various videos showed players in the locker room celbrations without masks following the team’s victory, and the Saints “also had previous violations and was provided ample warning that further actions would result in escalated discipline.”

At the beginning of the month, the NFL sent out a notice with updated coronavirus protocols that stressed: “All players and staff must wear masks or double-layered gaiters in the locker room on gameday – prior to the game, during halftime, and postgame.”


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