Enforcing social distancing in the NFL seems like an impossible task, but they sure are going to try.
Per multiple reports, the NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols were sent to clubs on Wednesday night and include rules such as prohibiting on-field fan seating, both teams traveling to stadium via bus, banning media from the locker room and temperature checks for anyone with bench access before entering the stadium.
Among the most peculiar, though, is that postgame interactions within six feet of each other will be forbidden, including jersey exchanges between players.
Some players on social media were quick to mock the rule because social distancing is unavoidable during the game, so what difference does it make after the game?
Deshaun Watson, Richard Sherman, Darius Slay and Damon “Snacks” Harrison were among some of the players left scratching their heads.
David J. Chao, a former NFL team doctor who operates the popular ProFootballDoc Twitter account, even agreed with the players, replying to Watson that the move was more about optics than medical reality.
While these players may think the rule is silly, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted that the jersey swap ban was jointly agreed upon by both parties and endorsed by the NFLPA.
To further add to the randomness of the rules, coaches and players will not be required to wear masks on the sidelines, but everyone else on the bench must wear a mask.
The NFL and NFLPA are also still discussing a possible mandate for a full face shield, but many players have spoken out against it, including Texans star J.J. Watt, who suggested he would sit out if that were the case.