Word broke on Thursday that the NFL is set to put a slew of new rules into effect this season to promote social distancing during and around game time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted out that those rules, include players being “forbidden from postgame interactions within 6 feet of each other,” also adding that the much-beloved post-game jersey swap between players will also be prohibited.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate wasn’t having any of that, as shown by his response below, essentially calling out the league as hypocrites.
Players Lash Out at New Rules
Tate was far from the only NFL player less than pleased upon catching wind of the league’s new rules. These developments appear to have struck a chord amongst the majority of players, leading to an abundance of backlash via social media. Tate was joined by NFLPA Vice President and San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, Los Angeles Chargers’ Trai Turner, Las Vegas Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs III and Houston Texans wideout Randall Cobb as just a few of the numerous players to voice their displeasure.
Sherman tweeted “This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go engage in a full-contact game and do it safely.” The All-Pro corner continued, “However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game.”
Turner claimed that the NFL is just “making stuff up now” and that the league must “address the real issues” as “times ticking.”
Cobb, on the other hand, swore the entire situation had to be a joke, calling on a confused Russell Westbrook to drive his point home.
Obviously, the league is trying its best to limit what they likely deem unnecessary contact between players, media, staff, etc. during non-in-game activities. With that said, it’s understandable why the players find it hard to justify the NFL’s restrictions given the physical nature of the game itself.
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Numerous Other Rules Put into Motion: Masks, Travel Bans & More
The postgame restrictions are far from the only changes mentioned in the updated game-day protocols that all 32-NFL teams received on Wednesday night. Media access to player locker rooms and on-field seating for fans will be prohibited. All players from both teams must travel by bus to the stadium on gameday, forbidding players from traveling via personal vehicles, even if the player is a member of the home team that week.
As you can expect, players will not be required to wear masks during the game, nor will coaches. However, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has noted that all other personnel on the bench/sidelines will have to wear a mask.