Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ John Lynch: NFL should hold teams accountable if they don’t abide by COVID-19 rules

Oct 8, 2020 at 5:25 PM--

Things are kind of a hot mess right now within the Tennessee Titans organization. It already faced some potential punishment for breaches of the NFL's COVID-19 protocols amid an internal outbreak of the highly-contagious virus.

With the team unable to enter its facilities as it tries to get the outbreak under control, news surfaced of an offsite practice held last week after the league told the Titans that such gatherings were prohibited.

The NFL will likely make an example of the Titans.

The San Francisco 49ers have not been immune to avoiding penalties from the league regarding the COVID-19 protocols. The NFL fined Kyle Shanahan and the team a combined $350,000 when the coach failed to wear his mask properly during a game.

"Obviously, I can do a better job during the game of wearing it," Shanahan responded. "I got the message, and I will do a better job."

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Thursday and was asked if he agrees that the NFL should significantly punish teams that intentionally don't abide by the rules. That could mean forcing forfeits or other penalties.

"I agree (they should be held accountable), and that's been the challenge with this thing," Lynch said on the Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "I think the league's done a great job of creating a system with these protocols that has been very largely effective minus this one situation. And I think we're seeing an uptick of infections around the country. It's flu and cold season, and all those things — that has you really on high alert.

"... If there's blatant disregard for these protocols, absolutely that team should be responsible for that. I will say it's difficult. There's a lot of people in these buildings keeping people vigilant on it at all times. Human nature does creep in, and there's a little bit of a feeling of, 'Hey, we're all tested every day.'

"But that's not what's being asked of us. We're taking on a monumental task to be able to keep playing, and so we have to adhere to these (protocols) because they're well thought out, they're agreed to by the ownership, by the league, by the NFLPA. So everyone's had a say in this. We have to adhere to it.

"Even then, I do believe, myself, that there's a degree of randomness to this. But yes, I think if there's blatant disregard, that team should be held accountable, and I think it's been a good wake-up call for everyone."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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