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NFL fines Amari Cooper for COVID-19 violation, report says

The NFL has fined Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper $14,650 for a violation of the league’s COVID-19 rules, ESPN reported on Friday.

The NFL determined the former Alabama All-American broke the COVID-19 protocol while attending the Golden State Warriors-Dallas Mavericks NBA game on Jan. 5, when Cooper and teammate CeeDee Lamb were sitting courtside at the game while unmasked.

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Lamb was not fined because he did not violate the rules. Because Lamb is vaccinated and Cooper is not, the protocol differs for them.

The applicable rule reads: “A player who is not fully vaccinated is prohibited from attending a professional sporting event unless he is seated in a separated seating section, such as a suite or owner’s box, is wearing PPE and there are no more than 10 people in that separate seating section.”

On Jan. 7, during an appearance on “GBag Nation” on KRLD-FM in Dallas, Cooper was asked about attending the game during the coronavirus pandemic with the Cowboys headed for the NFL playoffs.

“I just think there’s risk all across the board,” Cooper said. “Even if I stay home, I don’t live by myself. I have people who stay with me who have to go out to their job and stuff like that. There’s another book, ‘The Tipping Point,’ that talks about how things spread, like diseases and stuff in the environment. You can stay at home, but if you stay with somebody else, obviously they go out to their job or drop the kids off at school or whatever, and just by them doing that, they’re coming into contact with probably over a million people just because of the person they come into contact with comes into contact with a whole bunch of different people, and so forth and so on.

“When I do go somewhere, I mean, I was pictured not wearing a mask, but that’s because I was eating and drinking. I don’t know how to do that with a mask on, so I just think there’s risk all across the board. I don’t feel like anybody is staying home, you know what I mean? Am I supposed to just sit in the house all day? …

“I don’t really understand how to be extra careful because, like I said, just by us going to practice every day, being around each other, we have teammates on our team who have kids. They take their kids to school who are around hundreds of other kids, who are around their parents when they go home, so forth and so on, so I don’t feel like we can be safe in the environment that we’re in. I feel like the only way we can be safe is if no one goes out and everybody is quarantining for an extended amount of time. But the environment that we’re in, where we have to go to practice and see each other, and we have to be around our families, there’s not really any safety in that, in my opinion.”

Cooper missed two games during the regular season on reserve/COVID-19. The Cowboys lost those game to the Kansas City Chiefs 19-9 on Nov. 21 and Las Vegas Raiders 36-33 in overtime on Nov. 25.

The four-time Pro Bowler had 68 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in the 2021 regular season.

The Cowboys open the NFC playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers at 3:30 p.m. CST Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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