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Saints fined $500,000, stripped of seventh-round draft pick by NFL for protocol violations

The Saints were disciplined by the NFL for protocol violations during a postgame victory celebration. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
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The NFL fined the New Orleans Saints $500,000 and stripped them of a seventh-round draft choice for violations of the sport’s coronavirus protocols during a postgame locker room victory celebration without masks.

The Saints become the second NFL team to lose a draft pick because of protocol violations. The Las Vegas Raiders previously were fined $500,000 and stripped of a sixth-round selection because of violations.

The Saints, like the Raiders, were treated as repeat offenders. In September, Coach Sean Payton and the team were among the NFL head coaches and franchises fined for mask-wearing violations. Payton was fined $100,000 and the Saints were fined $250,000.

NFL fines, strips Raiders of draft pick, also penalizes Steelers for coronavirus violations

In the latest case, video of the Saints’ celebration following a 38-3 triumph Nov. 8 over the Buccaneers in Tampa showed the violations. The Saints are appealing the penalties, according to ESPN, which first reported the sanctions.

The Tennessee Titans were fined $350,000 by the NFL but did not lose a draft pick for protocol violations related to their coronavirus outbreak in late September and early October.

The NFL has not ruled out disciplining the Baltimore Ravens, according to a person familiar with the case, in connection with their current outbreak. The Ravens announced this week they were disciplining a team staff member in relation to their coronavirus cases.