The Tennessee Titans have returned to the field after the COVID-19 outbreak that rattled the league, but discipline could be on the horizon with the NFL’s investigation into the outbreak nearing a conclusion.
Shortly after the Titans’ outbreak began, the NFL and NFL Players Association opened an investigation to discover the cause of the massive spread. While the league has seen individual and small outbreaks this season, more than two dozen Titans players and staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, a few weeks after the probe began, it could soon be completed with discipline on the way.
According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the NFL and NFLPA are in the final stages of the investigation into the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak. The focus of the probe is on the team’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and league safety protocols.
While discipline hasn’t been determined, many around the league hope and expect it to be significant. While the league doesn’t believe the club willfully violated the COVID-19 protocols, the NFL has reportedly uncovered multiple violations by Tennessee.
When the Titans were ordered to suspend all in-person activities in Week 4, the NFL also stated players couldn’t work out together outside of the team’s facility. Yet, more than a dozen players held a workout at a nearby high school, and it reportedly wasn’t the only group practice held.
The investigation by the NFL and NFLPA has primarily focused on two key areas. First, potential evidence shows players and team personnel didn’t adhere to wearing face coverings and PPE inside the facility. Just as concerning, determining if the Titans didn’t regularly wear the contact-tracing tracers. The electronic tracers are used to help determine which players were in close contact of someone with COVID-19.
Reports also suggested players didn’t disclose when they may have had COVID-19 symptoms and that linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who tested positive, failed to report contact with someone who had the coronavirus.
While there aren’t any early signs of what discipline the Titans will face, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the organization received a significant fine and lost at least one early selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fans and the team might find it harsh, but it’s the result of this team’s direct violations of safety protocols that put the NFL season in jeopardy.