By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) - NFL players will not be allowed to shake hands of swap jerseys after games according to safety protocols seen by Reuters on Thursday that are designed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The detailed set of rules, which have been approved by the NFL Players Association, outline in detail how league plans to keep players, coaching staff and others safe on game day. They include:
- Opposing teams will be prohibited from post-game interactions within six feet of one another
- Players on the bench will be prohibited from interacting with fans, meaning no autographs or photographs
- The home team will be required to stay at the team hotel the night before each game
- Both the home and visiting teams must travel to the stadium on game day via bus
- All game day personnel will be required to complete a health survey and anyone with access to the bench must take their own temperature prior to arriving at the stadium
- Media will be banned from the locker rooms
Several players said some of the provisions were ridiculous given the full-contact nature of the sport.
"So we can tackle each other for 60 min but can't exchange jersey that takes 2 mins," Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay wrote on Twitter.
Players will report to training camps on July 28 and the NFL's 101st season is scheduled to kick off on Sept. 10 in Kansas City.
The NFL has said it anticipates allowing fans at games, although several teams have said they plan to greatly limit the number of spectators allowed inside and others have said they will require fans to wear masks.
It remains to be seen whether clubs will allow players to opt out of the 2020 season without suffering any financial penalty.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)