The NFL is dealing with their first COVID-19 mini-crisis, and the league is hoping to keep it that way. An outbreak within the Tennessee Titans organization has led to the postponement of their game with the Steelers on Sunday. On Friday, the NFL said it extended its agreement with the NFL Players Association to keep in place the daily COVID-19 testing to include non-game days. And that includes bye weeks.
The new rules are specific and fairly strict. For instance, players and coaches will not be allowed to travel away from their team’s city during the bye week. Personnel exempt from testing will still need to report to the club facility daily for a temperature check and screening.
The punishment attached to anyone not complying makes it clear the league means business. For instance, if a player misses a test without gaining permission from his team, the NFLPA, and NFL Management Council, he would face a fine of $50,000 on the first missed test, a one game suspension for the second, and more discipline for additional missed tests.
But wait, there’s more. A player or coach that misses a test without permission during the bye week must have five negative tests, all within 24-hours, before being allowed back to work.
The NBA pulled off an almost perfect bubble experience, with no major outbreaks from the moment teams reported in early July through the NBA Finals. The Major League playoffs are heading to pseudo bubble-type experiences in four locations, as they continue with Divisional Playoff series after first-round series played at teams’ home stadiums.