Report: Raiders Asst. Told Players Jon Gruden Had COVID-19 to Emphasize Pandemic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden before the start of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press

The Las Vegas Raiders apparently adopted something similar to the "scared straight" tactic to drive home the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the Raiders had assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia replace Jon Gruden on a Zoom call with players. The team said Gruden had been diagnosed with COVID-19 but later revealed that wasn't the case.

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

One more on the #Raiders from Inside Training Camp on @nflnetwork: Jon Gruden's attempt to "crush" COVID-19 included assistant Rich Bisaccia tricking the players into thinking Gruden had coronavirus. But it wasn't a mean-spirited prank. There was a serious message behind it. https://t.co/I832Zy5g2a

One would think current events would suffice in terms of getting the scope and danger posed by the pandemic across. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has confirmed nearly 4.8 million cases of COVID-19. Not only is that the most in the world, but it's almost 2 million more than the next closest country, Brazil.

The 2020 MLB season is approaching its two-week mark, and the league has already had two teams experience outbreaks and numerous games postponed.

The same fate could be on the horizon for the NFL as MLB exhibits the difficulties of staging a season without putting players and coaches in a closely monitored central location.

The Raiders' tactics were odd, but it seems Gruden's heart was in the right place.