Jerry Rice found himself caught in the quicksand of stickum after he followed comments to ESPN about applying it to his gloves by acknowledging that he’d done research, that he learned stickum indeed was outlawed in 1981, and that it’s OK because everyone does it.
Our invitation to the audience to send in evidence of other receivers admitting to or denying the use of stickum resulted in the submission of a link to a 1993 article in the Los Angeles Times following a 49ers win over the Rams. During the game, Rice made a one-handed catch for a 48-yard gain.
After the game, reporters asked how he did it.
“I had stickum on my glove,” Rice said. “That’s a joke,” he quickly added, “stickum is illegal.”
So he knew darn well during his career that it was illegal, and he has plainly admitted after his career that he used it.
In hindsight, maybe Rice wasn’t joking in 1993. And to those who insist it’s not a big deal, keep in mind that Rice had a hard time catching the football when he was a rookie. If he never applied stickum to his gloves, maybe Jerry Rice never would have become Jerry Rice.
The issue definitely never would have been an issue if Rice hadn’t declared the Patriots’ eventual Super Bowl victory tarnished by #DeflateGate, and if Rice hadn’t told ESPN that he used to put stickum on his gloves.