Raiders' Jon Gruden Says He Had COVID-19 in July, Apologizes for Not Wearing Mask

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2020

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden watches during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Monday night's broadcast of the Las Vegas Raiders' 34-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints showed Jon Gruden not wearing his mask a number of times, and the Raiders head coach apologized for a lack of vigilance while revealing he had COVID-19 over the offseason.

"I'm doing my best," he said, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. "I've had the virus. I'm doing my best. I'm very sensitive about it ... I'm calling plays. I just wanna communicate in these situations and if I get fined I'll have to pay the fine but I'm very sensitive about that and I apologize."

Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune noted Gruden said he had COVID-19 in mid-July and was not planning on divulging as much but was "irked by people saying he faked it."

In August, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported Raiders assistant coach Rich Bisaccia tried to emphasize the importance of taking the pandemic seriously by "tricking the players into thinking Gruden had coronavirus."

That Gruden apologized for not wearing his mask was notable considering ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the NFL fined Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan each $100,000 for not wearing their masks during Sunday's slate of games.

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What's more, each team was fined an additional $250,000.

"I've got to do a better job of keeping my mask over my face," Gruden said following a Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers, per Gutierrez. "It was really hot. ... I've got to do a better job."

Those comments were notable as well since NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent sent a memo following Week 1 stressing the importance of wearing masks on the sidelines.

"Failure to adhere to this requirement will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs," the memo said. "The face covering must be worn as designed so that it securely fits across the wearers nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of the virus."

On the field, the Raiders offense had little trouble with New Orleans as Derek Carr hit 11 different pass-catchers on his way to 282 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Las Vegas is 2-0 and will look to keep its momentum in Week 3 against the New England Patriots.