NFL, NFLPA Detail Gameday Protocols; Jersey Swaps Not Allowed
The NFL and the NFLPA have now outlined game-day protocols, and they include "no one with a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher being allowed into the stadium on game days, the 'encouraged' -- but not always required -- use of masks on the sidelines and the ban of a popular postgame tradition," according to Chris Bumbaca of USA TODAY. Social distancing and no sharing of personal items -- such as jersey exchanges after games -- "will be mandated in the bench area." Teams are required to submit a list of individuals with field access to the league, and those individuals (stadium operations, field crews, league/club game day assistants, club staff, network and other on-field media) "must wear face coverings at all times and remain outside of a yellow dotted line, which will run between between the 30-yard lines and be at least 10 feet behind the bench area." Home teams "must stay at hotels the night before games and report to the stadium via bus." Arrival times between the two teams "will be staggered." Additionally, players from opposing teams "will not be allowed to be within six feet of each other after the game, meaning 'jersey exchanges shall be prohibited'" (USA TODAY, 7/10).
PLAYERS UPSET, CONFUSED: ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert noted jersey exchanges have "gained in popularity in recent years, and their elimination was met with immediate derision from some prominent players on social media." 49ers CB Richard Sherman "tweeted that it was a 'perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell,' noting that players will 'engage in a full contact game' only to find that it's not safe to exchange jerseys" (ESPN.com, 7/9).
SLOW & STEADY: NBC SPORTS BOSTON's Tom Curran wrote under the header, "For The NFL, The Smart Move Would Be To Tap The Brakes On 2020 Season." Curran: "Maybe tap the brakes for a month, NFL? Wouldn’t that make sense? A little 'discretion is the better part of valor' being exercised?" If you "need to lose some games to get the Super Bowl in on time, lose some games." If you "want to push into early March, you can do that too." With the proposed start of training camp "barely two weeks away, not enough is pinned down." Curran: "Actually, it seems like almost nothing is" (NBCSPORTSBOSTON.com, 7/9).