The 2020 season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its inaugural campaign under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. apologized for breaking the NFL's COVID-19 protocols during an videoconference with the local media Wednesday.
Haskins said he attended a private party for his girlfriend's birthday Sunday night and admitted he was in violation of the league's COVID-19 protocols because he was not wearing a mask during a public gathering of more than 10 people.
"My actions following the game on Sunday were immature and unacceptable," Haskins said. "I put my teammates, coaches and staff members at risk and let the fans and the organization down. I take full responsibility and accountability for that. Being a quarterback in this league comes a big responsibility and leadership, and I failed to live up to those standards with my actions. I fully understand the mistakes that I've made and the circumstances that come with it, and I'm OK with that because I deserved it."
Head coach Ron Rivera said the team was made aware of the social media post Monday and immediately contacted Haskins about it. Rivera said Haskins was "truthful and upfront" about the matter, and the team brought him in for rapid testing and contacted the NFL. Haskins said he has been taking rapid tests every day and has tested negative. If Haskins tests positive, he said there is a plan in place.
Although the team was "extremely disappointed" in Haskins' decision making, Rivera appreciated how he handled the aftermath of the situation. Rivera said Haskins gave a "very genuine apology," and the two had a "very straightforward" initial discussion during which Rivera told Haskins he will no longer be a captain. Rivera said Haskins has also been fined.
"I think the biggest thing is that we are holding him accountable and he's been punished," Rivera said. "He accepted it and was forthright. One of the things I really appreciated was his honesty in our conversation. As soon as I had gotten the information, I called him. He and I talked. He and I have actually talked probably, gosh, five or six times in the last two days. We've had some really good conversations about it. The thing that I had appreciated was that he took responsibility and was very forthright. I think as we go forward, that's the thing that we're looking for. If you make a mistake, you have to step up and you have to take responsibility."
-- Haskins apologizes to teammates and coaches at practice: Haskins issued a team-wide apology Wednesday for his actions and the distractions he has caused.
"I need to step up to the plate, and I can't be selfish, and I need to stop getting in my own way," Haskins said. "So I'm putting things in motion as far as a plan for myself to be a better teammate and be more accountable and fix my issues that have brought me to this situation."
Haskins described the moment as "very humbling" and appreciated the receptiveness of his teammates to embrace him with open arms. Haskins knows this could be his final chance to prove himself, so he intends to make the most of it.
"He was wholehearted about his apology," Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff said. "He made a mistake, and he owned up to it, and we're moving on from here."
-- Haskins still allowed to "participate in some capacity": Over the past few days, Rivera said the team and the NFL worked out a plan that allows Haskins to "participate in some capacity" this week. Haskins is still allowed to practice, but he is being tested twice per day and has to wear a mask under his helmet that includes a face shield.
"He works on his social distancing, we have contact tracing with him and constantly have him moving," Rivera said. "It's the ideal situation is because we practice outside and all of our meetings are virtual."
-- Haskins will start if Alex Smith cannot play: Alex Smith (calf) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, so Haskins took the first-team reps during a walkthrough portion open to the media. Rivera confirmed in his press conference that if Smith cannot play, Haskins will make his second straight start.
"I will learn from this mistake and do whatever I can in my own power to help this team during this playoff run," Haskins said. "I am grateful for Coach Rivera for being straightforward with me and giving me another chance."
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