Raiders Assistant Coach Tricked Players Into Thinking Jon Gruden Had COVID-19

The Raiders wanted to show their players how real COVID-19 can be, so their assistant coach pretended that head coach Jon Gruden tested positive for the virus.

Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders walks on the field.

Image via Getty/Lachlan Cunningham

Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders walks on the field.

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is currently in the hospital after contracting COVID-19. At least, that's what Raiders assistant coach Rich Bisaccia wanted to make his players believe when he falsely informed them of Gruden’s positive coronavirus test result over Zoom, according to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo. 

"Bisaccia told them, 'Guys, Coach Gruden has COVID, and he's at the hospital now and he's being taken care of,'" Garafolo said. "It wasn't a joke. What it was was the team illustrating to the players that this could happen at any moment, to anybody."

With nearly five million cases in the United States alone, and over 161,000 fatalities, it shouldn't be difficult to see how serious COVID-19 is. But, just in case these Raiders players needed a harsh reminder, nothing hits harder than when these scares hit close to home, except maybe for when you discover that your assistant coach toyed with your emotions to create a "teachable moment."

"The point to the players was you’ve got to stay ready, you’ve got to stay ready," Garafolo continued. "The players really took it to heart from what I’ve been told, and know going forward that everybody's got to be on the ready because of the world that we are living in right now." 

While Garafolo reports that the Raiders' coronavirus hoax elicited the desired reaction from their players, not everyone saw this as the best move.

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