NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -The New Orleans Saints are facing significant discipline for not wearing masks during their postgame celebrations last Sunday night -- as seen in videos they posted to social media, including the team’s own Twitter account -- after their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, league sources tell ESPN.
Video of Saints players and head coach Sean Payton dancing and celebrating their 38-3 vctory over Tampa Bay went viral last Sunday night. Multiple players were clearly not wearing masks during the celebration in the locker room, which is a violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols -- and the league noticed, according to sources.
The Saints are facing stiff fines and the loss of a draft pick, similar to the action the NFL took against the Raiders earlier this month, when Las Vegas was fined $500,000, head coach Jon Gruden was fined $150,000 and the franchise was stripped of a sixth-round pick for COVID-19 protocol violations.
Discipline is expected to be handed down to the Saints this upcoming week, according to a source, though the NFL and the Saints' legal team spent previous days discussing the issue.
One issue the league is focused on, according to sources, is that like Gruden and the Raiders, Payton and the Saints are repeat offenders. Payton was fined $100,000 and the Saints $250,000 because Payton was not wearing a mask during New Orleans' Week 2 loss in Las Vegas. NFL discipline almost always is more severe for repeat offenders.
Conversations between the Saints and the NFL will continue, according to sources, but the locker-room celebration video was there for everyone to see. Payton, linebacker Demario Davis and quarterback Jameis Winston, who made his season debut in the victory over his former team, were among those seen dancing and celebrating in the video posted to Instagram by receiver Tre’Quan Smith.
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