The NFL and NFL Players Association remain in talks regarding the 2020 season, which is scheduled to proceed amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but has some players speaking out about the risks. One way the league will apparently attempt to subdue potential transmissions of the virus: a ban on postgame player jersey swaps.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, all 32 teams on Wednesday night received updated game-day protocols, which included a prohibition on any players exchanging jerseys, as well as a ban on any postgame interactions of any kind within six feet of each other. Dozens of players each week tend to swap jerseys -- some of them autographed following the game -- in a sign of respect for one another. Even more at least interact following games, with everything from handshakes to hugs to close conversations.
Some prominent players have already pushed back on the idea, or at least highlighted its peculiarity amid the circumstances. The San Francisco 49ers' Richard Sherman, for example, said "this is a perfect example of (the) NFL thinking in a nutshell," because players are expected to "go play a full-contact game and do it safely," but then cannot even swap jerseys after the game.
The postgame restrictions aren't the only additions to game-day protocol, per Pelissero. Wednesday's memo reportedly also prohibited any on-field fan seating during games, as well as any media access to player locker rooms, and dictated that both teams must travel to their stadium via bus as opposed to personal vehicles. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also reports that everyone besides players and coaches on team sidelines will be required to wear a mask throughout the 2020 season.