- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Dwayne Haskins’ free fall from future of the Washington Football Team to loose-cannon liability accelerated Tuesday after the quarterback was caught partying without a mask at a strip club — a violation of NFL COVID-19 protocols.

The No. 15 overall pick from the 2019 draft apologized to supporters, coaches and teammates Tuesday after social media posts captured him celebrating with a group of women after Sunday night’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

“I want to publicly apologize for my actions this past Sunday,” Haskins tweeted. “I spoke with Coach (Ron) Rivera yesterday and took full accountability for putting the team at risk. It was irresponsible and immature of me and I accept responsibility for my action.

“I also want to apologize for creating a distraction for my team during our playoff push,” Haskins added. “I will learn and grow from this and do what’s best for the team moving forward.”

Haskins then temporarily deactivated his Twitter account before restoring it and turning the account to private.

It’s unclear whether the incident jeopardizes Haskins’ availability for Washington’s upcoming game against the Carolina Panthers. Haskins got his first start since Week 4 over the weekend and would have been in line to play again if starter Alex Smith (calf) is unable to go. A source familiar with the situation said the team has no plans to cut Haskins over the matter.

The source said Washington was in contact with the league about the incident, adding the team was handling the matter internally and focused on the Panthers.

Instagram posts appeared to show Haskins dining with a group of women at a restaurant on Sunday evening. In one of the videos posted on Instagram, the group of women shout “Thanks, Dwayne!” and a man’s voice, which sounds like Haskins, can be heard responding.

Other photos and videos from that evening show Haskins and the women at a nightclub, throwing $1 bills.

Photos from earlier in the day show the women wearing “No. 7” Washington jerseys and drinking.

Haskins‘ involvement looks to have violated the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, which forbid players from going to a bar or restaurant with more than 10 people without wearing a mask.

If so, this will be the second time Haskins has violated the protocol. In October, he was fined $4,833 for booking a room for a family member at the team hotel before the New York Giants. Though Haskins did not have contact with the family member, the incident came just weeks after the 23-year-old was benched for Kyle Allen.

Haskins‘ maturity has been questioned repeatedly since Washington drafted him 15th overall in 2019. As a rookie, he missed the final snap of Washington’s win over the Detroit Lions — Haskins‘ first as a starter — because he was busy taking a selfie with a fan. Haskins‘ preparation for games has also been suspect.

Over the summer, Haskins was praised for his work ethic as coaches and teammates said he was becoming a leader. Players voted Haskins as a captain, as well. But Haskins was benched after just four games and repeated mistakes.

Rivera said at the time the change was mainly due to the state of the NFC East and was aimed at gibing the team a better shot at winning the division. But rumors about Haskins‘ problems with preparation persisted, and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese said the team was working to teach Haskins how to take better notes during the quarterback’s demotion.

In November, reports emerged that Haskins‘ camp believed a trade from Washington would be best for his career, with Washington reportedly open to a deal. But the team kept Haskins past the deadline, with Rivera telling reporters that the team hadn’t given up on Haskins.

A month later, Haskins got another opportunity to play after Alex Smith went down with a strained right calf in the first half of a win against the San Francisco 49ers. That injury sidelined Smith for the following week, paving Haskins to start over the weekend in a loss to the Seahawks.

Haskins threw for 295 yards for a touchdown and two interceptions. He almost led a fourth-quarter comeback before falling short.

Rivera has not been asked publicly about Sunday’s postgame incident involving Haskins. He is expected to meet with reporters Wednesday after practice.


• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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