The NFL fined Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper more than $14,000 on Thursday for violating the COVID-19 protocol as an unvaccinated player, ESPN reported.
Cooper was docked $14,650 for attending a Dallas Mavericks game on Jan. 5 without a mask.
Cooper, who missed two games in November after a positive test, is unvaccinated. He attended the NBA game with CeeDee Lamb, but Lamb is vaccinated and isn’t subject to the same rules as Cooper.
Specifically, this one: “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.”
Cooper defended his actions during an interview last week on 105.3 The Fan.
“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?” Cooper said.
“I don’t really understand how to be extra careful because 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,” Cooper went 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.”
Cooper, 27, caught 68 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games this season for the Cowboys, who host the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wild-card game Sunday.