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Kevin Owens: WWE mask policy fines idea came from me

This story was updated at 8 PM Eastern.

Image: WWE

In an interview with Sports Illustrated released Monday, Kevin Owens said the fine system associated with WWE's recent implementation of a mask policy came from him.

"...The masks weren’t being taken seriously enough. Eventually, a fine system was implemented to make sure people took it seriously. That came from me. I thought that the masks weren’t being worn seriously enough, so I went and talked to the people in charge. They immediately did what they could to remedy the situation," he said.

The 36-year-old said he doesn't blame anyone for the lack of a policy, but that even if some people don't feel the masks make a difference, everyone has to work together to keep each other safe. He said WWE's adoption of the policy and safety protocols were the reasons he decided to come back.

Earlier in July, Fightful had reported that a talent had gone to Vince McMahon about masks and social distancing echoed by a recent podcast author Pat Laprade was on.

As the story goes, Owens went to McMahon and aired his concerns about people not wearing masks, saying he was going home. McMahon reportedly questioned Owens if he wanted him to fine them for not doing so and Owens said yes and that McMahon was the only person the crew was going to listen to. Owens told McMahon that he once swore on SmackDown and was fined, never doing it again as a result.

Owens' wife recently lost her grandfather due to COVID-19 and he had been spending time at the family's Orlando, FL, home for a good amount of the pandemic due to the aforementioned safety concerns and also nursing an injured ankle from WrestleMania. He said his wife had suggested he look into going back after the new protocols WWE put into place.

Those protocols also include COVID-19 testing which they were not doing before, but added following an outbreak of the virus among nearly 40 people at last report.