The Las Vegas Raiders recently turned heads with the team's plan to stress the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of simply showing an informative video or talking about the importance of masks, the coaching staff tricked the players. Assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia actually started a Zoom meeting by saying that head coach Jon Gruden "had COVID."
"Raiders players, logging onto a Zoom call last week expecting to see Jon Gruden," NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo said. "Instead they saw Rich Bisaccia, the special teams coach and the assistant head coach. Bisaccia told them, 'guys, Coach Gruden has COVID, and he's at the hospital now and he's being taken care of.' The players were taken aback."
One more on the #Raiders from Inside Training Camp on @nflnetwork: Jon Gruden's attempt to "crush" COVID-19 included assistant Rich Bisaccia tricking the players into thinking Gruden had coronavirus. But it wasn't a mean-spirited prank. There was a serious message behind it. pic.twitter.com/I832Zy5g2a— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 5, 2020
Garafolo continued and said that the team revealed Gruden did not actually have the coronavirus. The coaching staff was just "putting one on" the players. However, this was not actually a prank. The reason for the lie is that the staff wanted to instill the importance of being ready. "This could happen to anyone," and the Raiders wanted to illustrate to the players that literally anyone on the team could test positive, whether it was the head coach, starting quarterback Derek Carr, or any other member of the team.
According to Garafolo, this Zoom interaction took place last week, days prior to another NFL figure testing positive. The Philadelphia Eagles confirmed that head coach Doug Pederson was in quarantine. He received two positive tests and had to remain away from his players. Although he did not experience any symptoms.
"We received confirmation this evening that Head Coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19," the Eagles said in a statement Sunday. "Pederson is asymptomatic and doing well. He is currently in self-quarantine and in communication with the team's medical staff. The organization is following the protocols established by the NFL and the NFLPA. Any individuals in close contact with Pederson at our facility have been notified and will continue daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility."
The Las Vegas Raiders made up the story about Gruden testing positive for the coronavirus and ending up in the hospital, but the players reportedly understood the seriousness of the situation. The Raiders just had a unique way of delivering the message. Following Pederson's positive test, they had further evidence that this could happen to anyone.