New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was one of the five NFL coaches handed a hefty fine for not following mask protocols during games. He was fined $100,000 and the Saints were fined $250,000 because Payton was not wearing a face covering when required during the team's Week 2 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders.
On Wednesday, Payton explained why he was neglecting the face covering during play, noting that it was not intentional.
Here's what he said, via NOLA.com:
"I've just gotta do a better job when we're not on offense. It's OK if you're pulling it down while you're calling plays but what happens is I get caught up in the game and half the time forget that it's down, so I've just gotta be more diligent with it."
Payton continued, "It's something we're just going to have to remind ourselves to do, maybe change the type of mask you're wearing because it's easier, I think, if you have the gaiter on to lose track that it sits around your neck."
Payton and the other fined coaches can't say the league didn't warn them. After seeing how many coaches were neglecting the mask Week 1, the NFL sent out an official warning that discipline could come if coaches forget to put them on during play.
If Payton keeps forgetting his mask, maybe he could take a page out of Matt LaFleur's book. The Green Bay Packers coach said he also forgets about the mask sometimes, but has an assistant nearby with the job of reminding him to put it on, according to NOLA.com.
The face coverings rule is part of the new health and safety protocol amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL does not have a bubble, so following COVID-19 safety rules is key the league being able to complete an entire season safely.
This week, the 1-1 Saints will host the 2-0 Packers on Sunday Night Football.