The Washington Football Team fined quarterback Dwayne Haskins $40,000 and took his team captain status away less than 72 hours after photos of him with strippers while not wearing a mask were released.
Team officials have not said whether Haskins, 23, will retain his starting role when the Washington Football Team (6-8) hosts the Carolina Panthers (4-10) Sunday. Washington opened as 2.5-point favorites. The line did not move Wednesday immediately after the Haskins news broke.
“We are holding him accountable, and he’s been punished, and he accepted it,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said in a press briefing Wednesday. “If you make a mistake, you’ve got to step up, and you have to take responsibility.”
On Sunday, Haskins attended his girlfriend’s birthday party at a hotel where strippers were performing. Posts of the celebration surfaced on the internet Monday. The incident was the second time the 2019’s No. 15 overall pick violated league and team COVID-19 protocols this season.
Haskins Has Performed of Late in Spite of Off-the-Field Gaffes
In Week 6 against the Giants. Haskins made a reservation for a family friend at the team hotel, which goes against the team COVID-19 protocol during the pandemic. At the time, Washington fined the quarterback $4,833.
Haskins was demoted to third-string earlier this season after a slow start but has since made a comeback and provided the team with a spark as Washington has won four of its last five and put itself in playoff contention sitting atop the moribund NFC East with a losing record.
“I know my team needs me,” Haskins said Wednesday. “I need to step up to the plate, and I can’t be selfish, and I need to stop getting in my own way. I know I shouldn’t have put my team at risk. I shouldn’t have been there. We were more than ten people not wearing masks, and that’s a violation regardless of where it was at.”
Rivera said he’s been aware of the posts since Monday afternoon and immediately contacted Haskins, who was rushed to the team facility to test for COVID-19 under NFL protocol rules.
Tumultuous and Subpar Season Notwithstanding, Washington Could Clinch Sunday
Backup QB Alex Smith, who continues his improbable comeback to the NFL after almost losing his leg, did not practice Wednesday because of a strained right calf. During Wednesday’s practice, Washington gave reps to backups Taylor Heinicke and Steven Montez; both were also active last week.
The NFL and team agreed to give Haskins two tests a day. He also must practice this week with a mask and a face mask, and a face shield. All meetings he attends are remote.
“You get a chance, you’ve got to make the most of it, and I’m just grateful to have that chance,” Haskins said Wednesday. “When you mess up, you have to be able to admit it.”
Alex Smith noted he’s “exhausting everything” to get himself ready to play. Should Washington win Sunday and the New York Giants Lose to Baltimore, the team will win its first division, knowing that his team would clinch the NFC East title if it wins and the Giants lose to Baltimore for only the third time since they won the Super Bowl in 1991.
NFC East Odds
|Washington Football Team||-260|
|New York Giants||+600|