The NFL has fined the Washington Redskins $20,000 for violating the league’s procedures for reporting injury information, according to a league announcement Friday.
The violation occurred after quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion on a third-quarter hit against Atlanta on Oct. 7. The Redskins initially announced to media that Griffin was “shaken up” and that his return was “questionable.” They violated league rules by failing to update Griffin’s status after he was diagnosed with a concussion while the game was still being played and ruled out.
The league requires teams to provide accurate and timely injury information to news media and the television network during games. The Redskins violated that requirement, especially because the injury involved the starting quarterback and the game was close, the league ruled.
The NFL reviewed how the Redskins’ medical staff followed the league’s return-to-play protocol for players who have suffered a concussion, and it determined the team acted appropriately in caring for Griffin’s well-being.
Griffin left the 24-17 loss to Atlanta after absorbing a blow to the head by Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. He was tested for a concussion on the sideline and inside a small auxiliary room located behind the Redskins’ bench at the base of the seating bowl.
When Griffin failed a memory test, he was escorted from the bench area to the locker room by trainers.
According to the NFL’s return-to-play protocol for those who have suffered a concussion, Griffin was not allowed to return to the game after he failed a memory test.
However, approximately five minutes after Griffin disappeared into the tunnel, the team’s public relations staff announced to media Griffin was “shaken up” and his return was “questionable.”
The team spokesman who made the announcement said he only relayed the information he was told by the team’s medical staff on the sideline.
“I knew when he didn’t know the quarter that the chances of him coming back were zero,” coach Mike Shanahan said at a news conference the following day. “Could that have been said to you sooner? Possibly. Doctors wanted to take him in there, administer the test, and obviously that’s what happened.”
Redskins head athletic trainer Larry Hess told the NFL Griffin was diagnosed with a concussion with “2-3 minutes” remaining in the game, the league said.
Shanahan incurred a fine for a similar reason in 2003 when he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos. After quarterback Jake Plummer’s suffered a separated throwing shoulder in a game against San Diego, the Broncos announced during the game Plummer had a concussion. Shanahan acknowledged the separated shoulder after the game.
This is the second monetary penalty the league has imposed on the Redskins this year.
The Redskins were penalized $36 million in salary cap space on the eve of free agency in March because the league ruled they manipulated contracts during the uncapped 2010 season with the intent of gaining a competitive advantage.
Half of that penalty was applied to the 2012 salary cap, and the other $18 million will come out of next year’s cap.