By Peter Gleason
The NFL is cracking down on players who aren’t taking the pandemic seriously enough.
A memo dated yesterday from the league office to all teams outlines further changes to the rules applicable to the 32 teams.
First, starting with Week 12, any players who are not substituting or entering the field of play will be required to wear a mask or a double-layered gaiter.
Second, play-callers also will have the same requirements as coaches who opt for a face shield. Specifically, they’ve be required to wear face masks or double-layered gaiters in addition to the face shield.
Third, all post-game interactions will be limited. “At the conclusion of the game, players and team personnel must wear masks and may briefly exchange greetings with the opposing team before promptly proceeding to their respective locker rooms,” the memo explains.
“Players who fail to wear masks on the sidelines will be subject to discipline,” the memo says. “Clubs are required to enforce these rules. Violations by players and/or staff will result in accountability measures being imposed upon the Club. It is strongly recommended that each Club designate one or two individuals in the Bench Area to ensure compliance with these rules.”
The league in recent weeks has become particularly concerned about potential sideline exposures during games, given the extent to which players huddle together while plotting strategy or receiving instruction from coaches. However, TV cameras routinely capture players pressed tightly together with no masks in sight.