New York Giants coach Joe Judge says team will deal with maskless players internally

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New York Giants coach Joe Judge had conversations with several players, including Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, who appeared in a video over the weekend without masks and not practicing social distancing inside a Manhattan bar. He also addressed the topic with the team.

Judge said the Giants will deal with the situation internally, but he seemed confident after speaking with those involved that there wasn’t any malicious intent or behavior.

Among those in the Instagram post that was eventually taken down were Barkley, Jones and wide receiver Sterling Shepard. The Giants players had a simulated bye week this weekend after playing on Thursday night, with their next game on Monday when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“The only thing I’m going to say on that is this group of guys has been very responsible from the very beginning. They tried to do the right thing, the entire team,” Judge said. “Based on the conversations and information I gathered from our players, I believe they were trying to do the right things as teammates with going out and having dinner together the other night.

“We have to just make sure that we are conscious as an organization in everything we do. But anything else on top of that we’re going to deal with internally.”

As of the weekend, it was unlikely the team would fine or suspend the players involved barring any new information, according to a source. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the league was looking into the video but waiting for the Giants to report back first.2

Earlier this season, the NFL fined 10 Las Vegas Raiders players, including tight end Darren Waller and quarterback Derek Carr, for breaking coronavirus protocols at a public charity event hosted by Waller’s foundation.

Barkley and Daniel Jones had dinner with some teammates and friends in a private room at a restaurant in New York on Friday night, a source said. Afterward, they were invited to have a drink at a bar that is closed to the public.

A video of Jones sharing a drink with a woman was taken at the Manhattan bar, the source said. The video from DJ Lugg Head, who served as a driver that evening, was eventually deleted.

At one point, the video showed Barkley riding a bicycle and doing what seemed to be wheelies on the street. Barkley is set to have surgery on a torn ACL later this week.

“Saquon is out in LA ready for surgery,” Judge said when asked specifically about that part of the video. “Actually, riding a stationary bike has been part of his rehab prepping for surgery. So, in terms of Saquon and where he is at, he’s getting ready for the surgery right now and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

The Giants had seemed to be successful in following the league’s social distancing guidelines to this point. No Giants players have gone on the reserve/COVID-19 list since the start of the season.

But Judge acknowledged this wasn’t a good look for the Giants or their two biggest stars.

“We have to make the right decisions,” Judge said. “What they tried to do as a team on a night off, a simulated bye week if you could, was go out to dinner and hang together as a team. That is something they were looking to do. Stay tight with each other.

“I’ve had a lot of in-depth conversations with all the guys involved, as well as the rest of the team. They understand the consequences of anything you do right now in this COVID environment, as well as in the public eye with how they’re looked at, how we have to be careful and make the right decisions.”