Report: Titans Won't Face 'Severe' Punishment for COVID-19 Protocol Violations

Jenna CiccotelliContributor IIIOctober 18, 2020

The NFL logo is seen on the field in U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

After the NFL's investigation of a COVID-19 outbreak that led to 24 positive cases within the Tennessee Titans organization, the team's discipline "is not expected to be as severe as some thought it could be," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"The league is trying to be reasonable here," an anonymous source told Schefter. "They're taking intent and motive into account. They're backing off the Titans." 

According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, the in-person portion of the investigation into the Titans has ended, and the league is awaiting lab results for genetic tracing, with disciplinary action to be discussed before the end of the month. 

In the midst of the outbreak, there was a report that the Titans would face "historic" punishment for violation of protocols, which included an off-site practice session as the team's facilities closed as a result of the positive tests.

But Schefter reported that the league is viewing any violations of the league's guidelines as "acts of negligence rather than intent," and while some Titans did not wear masks, there was no direction from general manager Jon Robinson or head coach Mike Vrabel to avoid the face coverings. 

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio wrote last week that the Titans may avoid punishment entirely. 

"The league's approach continues to be accepting that players and other personnel will catch the virus away from the building, while also trying to keep it from spreading at work," Florio wrote, noting Robinson's remarks that while the Titans did not follow mask mandates "100 percent," he had heard other teams were not perfect either. 

On Oct. 3, when the COVID outbreak within the Titans organization was at 18 cases, Schefter reported that "the Titans were not diligent about wearing masks around their training facility."