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Why Daniel Jones, Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley, 2 other Giants could face fines for partying in New York City

NJ.com logo NJ.com 10/25/2020 Zack Rosenblatt, nj.com

A handful of Giants players could be facing fines from the NFL for possible violations of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

If Giants coach Joe Judge sticks with his methods of punishment he used on a previous player, it could lead to a couple of players being benched, too.

Friday night, videos surfaced on social media of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley out partying in New York City without masks, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Other Giants players were there too, including starting wide receiver Sterling Shepard and rookie wideouts Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, a person familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media. The players are aware they could be facing fines, the person said.

Jones, Barkley and the others — along with some other friends — had dinner in a private room in the city. After dinner, the group was invited to have a drink in a bar that was closed to the public, NJ Advance Media learned, which is where one of the videos of Jones was posted.

The Giants said in a statement that the team is “aware of the video that was posted. We are looking into the nature and context of what is on the video.” An NFL spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Jones, Barkley, Shepard, Mack and Victor could all face fines from the NFL — plus others, if more players were in attendance — for breaking the league’s protocols during the pandemic and being seen out in public not wearing masks. The Las Vegas Raiders had 10 players fined, including quarterback Derek Carr, after attending a charity fundraising event and were photographed and video recorded not wearing a mask in a crowded facility. Those fines ranged from $15,000 to $30,000.

Judge could also implement his own form of punishment. In Week 6, left tackle Andrew Thomas didn’t start against the Cowboys as punishment for showing up late to a meeting the night before the game. He still played in the game, and got his starting job back a week later.

Would Judge bench Jones, his starting quarterback? That remains to be seen. Shepard is an important part of the offense, and just returned on Thursday night against the Eagles after missing four games with a toe injury. Mack was called up from the practice squad two weeks ago. Victor — Mack’s teammate at Ohio State — is currently a member of the practice squad.

As for the incident itself, a screen recording of the video made its way around social media, but was later deleted.

The video was supposedly taken Friday night by a man who goes by DJ Lugghead, who posted it to Instagram. The video was later taken down from his Instagram.

DJ Lugghead was not actually with them, a person familiar with the gathering told NJ Advance Media on Saturday, but “crashed” the party once he heard Jones, Barkley and Shepard were in attendance and filmed the videos that he then posted to social media. The players were upset that DJ Lugghead e-mailed various media outlets — including NJ Advance Media — claiming that the videos were from a year ago since that was not true, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.

In an e-mail to NJ Advance Media, Lugghead said the video is from last year, adding that the Manhattan bar where it was captured, Common Ground, “isn’t even opened.” But Common Ground is currently open, according to the bar’s website.

The players were not at Common Ground last night, a person familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media.

At one point in the video, Jones is handed a drink by a woman, and he takes a sip of it. All three people in the video — Jones, the woman, and the man capturing it — are not wearing masks. The video appears to have been taken inside a bar or nightclub, with no noticeable crowd around the three people.

Also, the video appears — at another point — to show Barkley slowly riding a bicycle on a street. That could be troubling for the Giants, since Barkley has a serious knee injury.

Barkley is tentatively scheduled to have surgery on his knee in Los Angeles next week.

In addition to video of Jones and Barkley, DJ Lugghead’s Instagram item included a photo of Jones and Barkley next to each other, smiling without masks — while apparently inside a bar or nightclub. The caption: “Rockin wit Danny dimes and Saquon.”

The Giants (1-6) lost at the Eagles on Thursday night. They don’t play again until Nov. 2, a Monday night, against the Buccaneers at home.

Whether Jones — or backup Colt McCoy — is the starting quarterback that night is the question now. Judge or any players won’t speak to the media again until Oct. 27.

NJ Advance Media reporter Darryl Slater contributed to this story.

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Zack Rosenblatt may be reached at zrosenblatt@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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