Less than a day after Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins apologized for photos showing him partying maskless, reports surfaced that he has been fined by the team and stripped of his captainship for the COVID-19 violation.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the demotion, which is a part of the internal punishment by the team. Haskins's teammates previously voted him as captain during camp. Washington announced on Tuesday that the incident would be handled internally.
Haskins was also fined $40,000—the largest known fine for a player for a COVID violation, according to Rapoport. It's reportedly over half of the quarterback's weekly paycheck.
On Tuesday, Haskins, whose Twitter account is now private, tweeted an apology saying he spoke with head coach Ron Rivera on Monday and "took full responsibility for putting the team at risk. It was irresponsible and immature and I accept responsibility for my action." He also offered his teammates an apology for "creating a distraction during our playoff push."
According to The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala, Haskins said on Wednesday that he "deserved" the punishment and that he was not at a strip club but rather "a private birthday party for his girlfriend."
Given the unknown status of injured starting quarterback Alex Smith, the team was reluctant to suspend Haskins. Smith was reportedly not stretching with the team on Wednesday and was limited in practice, according to NBC Sports' JP Finlay.
If Smith isn't available for this weekend's match-up against the Panthers, Rivera told reporters Wednesday that Haskins would start.
The head coach expressed that he's done discussing the matter, and offensive coordinator Scott Turner echoed the sentiment.
Washington has a chance to win the messy NFC East while sitting in first place in the division at 6–8. Both the Cowboys and Giants trail the team at 5–9.