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Why Aaron Rodgers got away with a fine and three Buccaneers got banned – The Globe and Mail

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Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was fined US$14,650, a sum negotiated between the league and the players’ union while developing the COVID-19 protocols. The team was nailed for US$300,000 for its lack of oversight in the Rodgers case.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers flaunts the NFL/NFLPA coronavirus protocols and gets a fine that barely shows up in his paycheque.

Antonio Brown and two others do the same and get three-game suspensions.

What gives?

It’s complicated, but in some ways it’s also pretty simple why the Packers quarterback was fined US$14,650, a sum negotiated between the league and the players’ union while developing the COVID-19 protocols. And why Brown, teammate Mike Edwards and former Buccaneers player John Franklin III took a much bigger hit for falsifying vaccination documents.

Rodgers was fined for not wearing a mask in some instances, at a Halloween party and during press conferences. A joint investigation by the NFL and union revealed that he was wearing a mask at other points and complied with the protocols.

Aaron Rodgers admits misleading people on his vaccine status, but stands by remarks

Aaron Rodgers scorns NFL COVID-19 protocols because he can – with no consequences

Rodgers did mislead the public and the media, but he informed the club – which told the NFL – and his teammates of his status. Indeed, everyone in his ecosystem was aware he was not vaccinated, and he was testing for COVID-19 daily, and social distancing at the team facility. It was those exceptions when he did not do so that led to the fine.

The Packers were nailed for US$300,000 for their lack of oversight in the Rodgers case. Whether that indicates complicity by the organization is a matter of debate.

Tampa Bay was not fined, though it loses an important defensive back in Edwards for part of the stretch run, and doesn’t have Brown, who has missed the past five games with an ankle injury. He also sat out the Bucs’ Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after testing positive for COVID-19.

The actions of Brown, Edwards and Franklin began during the summer and, according to a person familiar with the case, “were acting like they were vaccinated when they were not.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the players’ specific violations have not been announced.

“The league wanted to make an example of these three,” the person said, “and wanted to suspend them six to eight games and they settled on three.”

The agreement was the players would take the three-game suspensions for repeated protocol violations, not appeal, and there would be no public statements about the fake vaccination cards.

Another person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that all three players now are vaccinated.

“These players put all of their people at risk, and themselves and family members, their teammates and team personnel,” the person said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “They were not wearing masks when they [needed to] and were not tested every day, acting as if they were vaccinated.”

All 32 NFL teams were visited during training camp last summer and advised of the updated COVID-19 protocols. As early as July 22 the league made a presentation to the clubs to be on the lookout for fake vaccination cards, and noted to the teams the potential for that to happen based on media reports of people buying fake cards. The NFL even placed within the slide presentation the logo of the FBI, stressing that acquiring and using a fake vaccination card is a law enforcement issue that could lead to jail time.

And the players’ association made sure all of its members were aware that they actually falsified a federal document if they had a bogus vaccination document.

However, the protocols do not outline discipline for such a violation. Thus, the negotiations between the league and union that led to the three-game dockings.

There has been speculation that Brown’s history of misconduct, which includes an eight-game suspension in 2020 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, led to stiffer discipline. Both the league and union have insisted that is not the case.

The Brown/Edwards/Franklin case is the first disciplinary action with suspensions, and was announced through a joint statement by the NFL and NFLPA, reflecting the seriousness both take with the protocols.

Will there be more such scenarios? With about 95 per cent of NFL players vaccinated – and providing valid and verified proof – the numbers say that’s not likely. By handing down relatively major penalties for such violations, both the league and union hope a loud message has been sent.

Still, imagine if that message has not been heard or heeded, and one or more star players receive suspensions when playoff time rolls around in six weeks.

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Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu suffers concussion on opening drive vs. Bills – Sportsnet.ca

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has been ruled out for the remainder of Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buffalo Bills after suffering a concussion while trying to make a tackle on the opening drive.

The Chiefs had held the Bills to fourth-and-2 at midfield when Allen took off on a designed run. Mathieu went low trying to tackle the 240-pound quarterback and his helmet collided with the knee of teammate Jarran Reed.

Mathieu was checked briefly in the blue sideline tent before he was taken to the locker room.

Allen converted that fourth-down run, then the Bills converted again on fourth-and-goal at the Kansas City 1 to take a 7-0 lead in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game won by the Chiefs.

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Beijing introduces more COVID measures as cases mount before Olympics

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Beijing‘s city government on Sunday introduced new measures to contain a recent outbreak of COVID-19, as China’s capital continued to report new local cases of the virus less than two weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games.

Nine locally transmitted cases were found in Beijing on Jan. 22, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, of which six were in the city’s Fengtai district.

Fengtai will organise nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 for all of its residents on Sunday, district health authorities said.

Authorities have asked residents of “risky areas,” including a neighbourhood of Fengtai, to not leave the city, a local government spokesman said at a Sunday news conference, adding that Fengtai residents have been asked to avoid mass gatherings.

Beijing city has also asked residents to proactively conduct nucleic acid tests if they find themselves with COVID-19-like symptoms within 14 days of receiving any deliveries from overseas, local authorities said in a statement dated Saturday.

Authorities have suggested Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could have arrived via a package from Canada.

In Fengtai, some kindergartens have told parents that children who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be able to attend, two parents told Reuters.

Reuters could not determine whether the requirement is a government regulation or the kindergartens’ own rules.

A mother surnamed Wang, whose child attends at a private kindergarten in Fengtai, said a teacher told her on Friday that unvaccinated children will not be allowed to return from Monday citing new government regulations, without providing Wang any official documents.

“This is not on a voluntary basis. This is coercion,” Wang told Reuters. She said she has filed a complaint with authorities in the hope of having the requirement removed.

Reuters could not reach local authorities for comment on a non-business day.

Mainland China reported 56 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 22, down from 63 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

Of the new cases, 19 were locally transmitted, versus 23 a day earlier, it said.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 34 from 43.

There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll at 4,636.

As of Jan. 22, mainland China had confirmed 105,603 cases.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Roxanne Liu, Jing Xu and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard and Christopher Cushing)

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ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen release Jacob Panetta after Jordan Subban calls out racist gesture – The Athletic

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The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen released defenseman Jacob Panetta on Sunday after South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban said he was subjected to a racist gesture during Saturday’s game. The league suspended Panetta indefinitely, pending a hearing under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Later Sunday, Panetta released a response on Twitter, tagging Subban and captioning the video, “racism has no place in this world and no place in the game we love.” He said the gesture he made toward Subban was a “tough-guy, bodybuilder-like” one during a confrontation on the ice. He also said he’s made the same gesture to “non-racialized players a number of times” in his career.

Subban said Panetta made monkey gestures in his direction. His brother, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, later tweeted a video of the incident, which occurred 23 seconds into overtime.

“More like (Panetta) was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Jordan Subban tweeted after the game.

In his video, Panetta said “no racist slurs, noises, or anything of the like, were said by me during the incident.” While he said there were no racial intentions behind the gesture, Panetta apologized for the “pain and suffering and anger my actions have caused him, his family, and everyone that was hurt by this.”

“I acknowledge the impact of my gesture and will commit to better understand the impact going forward,” Panetta said. “Those who know me understand (it) was not intended to be racial, it is not who I am, it is not how I have been raised.

“But at the same time, I need to and I will learn from this. Racism and other forms of discrimination have no place in society, including hockey. I believed that before, and I still believe that now.”

Panetta’s release is “effective immediately” and the investigation is still ongoing at the league level, Jacksonville said in a statement.

South Carolina president Rob Concannon said the club is “disgusted and appalled” by Saturday’s incident.

“Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as the other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination. This behavior has to stop and is unacceptable.”

The NHL also issued a statement Sunday, saying it “will continue to make its resources available to the hockey ecosystem to educate and inform, with the goal of making the game welcoming and safe for all players and fans.”

“Incidents of racism, whether they occur in hockey or anywhere else, are abhorrent,” the league said.

Later Sunday, the Devils released a statement backing the Subbans. “We stand in support of Jordan, P.K., the Subban family and anyone who has experienced discrimination within our sport,” team said. “This week’s racist acts within the hockey community are unacceptable and have no place in the game or anywhere.”

On Friday, the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL suspended forward Krystof Hrabik 30 games for using a racial gesture during a game earlier this month.

(Photo: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images)

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