Pro sports leagues are trying to find ways to safely play games and entertain fans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is obviously a tough and tall task.
But the NFL's latest proposed measure missed the mark... completely.
The league is looking to ban the popular post-game jersey swap tradition, according to NFL.com, as a proposed safety measure:
Under proposed NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols, teams would be forbidden from interactions within six feet of each other following games, and jersey exchanges between players would be prohibited, per sources informed of the situation.
If you think that sounds like a total waste of a rule, after the teams are engaged in hand-to-hand action for three hours, you're not alone.
Why the NFL feels the need to distance players after allowing them to breathe, sweat, and bleed on each other during a game is unclear. The league didn't provide an explanation.
Probably because there isn't one.
These are uncharted waters for sports leagues, and mistakes will be made, but sometimes it helps to just use common sense.
A few Eagles players were quick to point out the seeming absurdity of the rule on Twitter:
If you’re testing us the whole week leading up to the game and on game day and test results are negative then what does it matter https://t.co/HMjKPNvFQr— Jalen Mills (@greengoblin) July 9, 2020
So we can tackle each other for 60min but can’t exchange jersey that takes 2 mins😂😂😂 https://t.co/5RKq54T0mH— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) July 9, 2020
And a couple other star players from around the league chimed in as well:
This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go engage in a full contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game. 😂🤣😂 https://t.co/fWefsUSVDc— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 9, 2020
thats DAMN SILLY bro.. 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/QDOwn2G3bc— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) July 9, 2020
Interestingly, NFL.com's Kevin Patra included this qualifier at the end of his story about the ban:
The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop.
That sounds like the league already setting itself up to change the rule down the line, considering the initial reception from players.
We'll see if it lasts an entire season.
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