It took a while, but the NFL finally punished the New Orleans Saints for repeated COVID-19 protocol violations during the 2020 season. The Saints were docked a sixth-round draft pick and fined $700,000 for those violations, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
There was confusion Friday after the team's 2021 NFL draft picks showed the Saints had a selection in every single round. That will apparently still be the case. The sixth-round pick the Saints lost applies to the 2022 draft.
It's unclear whether any further punishments will come down.
The Saints got in trouble multiple times in 2020 for not adhering to the league's coronavirus protocols. Star running back Alvin Kamara missed the team's Week 17 game after going on the COVID-19/reserve list. Kamara reportedly had contact with a non-Saints employee at the team facility, which went against NFL rules. That person reportedly later tested positive for COVID-19. It marked the third time the team faced punishment for breaking the league's COVID-19 rules.
Saints have lost draft picks in the past
Saturday's news is not the first time the Saints have lost a draft pick as a result of breaking rules. In 2012, head coach Sean Payton was suspended for a year as a result of the bounty scandal. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams also missed a year due to a suspension. The Saints lost two second-round draft picks — 2012 and 2013 — as a result of those violations.
Payton returned to the Saints following his suspension, and is still with the team. Williams joined the Tennessee Titans once he was reinstated, and has bounced around to various teams since the bounty scandal.
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