The NBA and MLB are experiencing several players opt out of its attempt to resume its seasons, and the NFL could be staring down the same path – especially if one particular rule is put in place.
The possibility of mandating a full face shield could turn players away, among them is Houston Texans star J.J. Watt.
Watt told Pro Football Talk on Wednesday that he has no interest in wearing such a shield, and that if it is indeed mandated, he would sit out the 2020 NFL season.
“My second year in the league, I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet,” he said. “I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off I’m gonna die out here.’ … So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field.”
Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, is one of the league’s biggest stars and his voice should certainly carry a lot of weight.
But the league is stuck in a difficult position where it must figure out a way to put in safety protocols to mitigate the risk of contracting coronavirus.
The NFL has spent the offseason testing different types of masks players could wear on the field, including the full face shield, and it is among the issues the NFL and NFLPA are discussing.
As training camp is scheduled to begin at the end of the month, it is clear there are still plenty of challenges and issues that must be sorted out to envision what a 2020 football season will look like.