The Baltimore Ravens announced in a statement on Wednesday evening that a staff member has been punished for "conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff." The staff member in question is said to be a strength and conditioning coach who breached league protocols, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who also says the league is hopeful that the virus is contained. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network adds that the staff member did not report symptoms and was not consistently wearing a mask or tracking device.
Those actions may have contributed to the rash of positive COVID-19 cases that the team is currently dealing with. Over the course of the week, the Ravens have dealt with at least 10 positive cases, which included running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins. A number of others were also placed on the reserve/COVID list after being identified as close contacts.
The news of this punishment comes on the heels of the NFL postponing Baltimore's Thanksgiving night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to all of these positive tests. Despite holding out hope that they could get the game in, the league officially moved this AFC North head-to-head to Sunday at 1:15 p.m. ET.
"We appreciate the NFL for its diligence in working closely with us to ensure the well-being of players, coaches and staff from both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers organizations," the team said in a statement just prior to the news of their Week 12 game being rescheduled. "Protecting the health and safety of each team, in addition to our communities at large, is of utmost importance. We will continue to follow guidance from the NFL and its medical experts, as we focus on safely resuming preparations for Sunday's game."
As La Canfora suggests, discipline could be coming down from the league on Baltimore. With that in mind, the Ravens may be disciplining this coach to proactively reduce or avoid any potential discipline handed down by the league after this outbreak forced them to reschedule a primetime game. Earlier this season the Las Vegas Raiders were reportedly penalized a 2021 sixth-round draft choice and fined a total of $650,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols so there is a precedent that the Ravens are likely aware of.