Players react to NFL's dumb mandate: tackling yes, postgame jersey exchange no

Shalise Manza Young
·Yahoo Sports Columnist
·3 min read

The NFL is fine, apparently, with offensive and defensive linemen getting tangled up for 60 or so snaps a game, fine with them sweating and inadvertently spitting on one another in their trench battles.

The NFL is fine, apparently, with linebackers wrapping up running backs and landing on top of them, or a running back standing toe-to-toe with a linebacker after stiff-arming him right out of a play, talking smack through his face mask.

In essence, the NFL is fine, apparently, with players playing full-contact, 60-minute football games, the very antithesis of social distancing.

What the NFL is not fine with, apparently, are postgame bro-hugs and jersey exchanges.

Make it make sense, y’all.

The NFL wants to ban these postgame jersey exchanges this season because of the coronavirus. (Robin Alam/Getty Images)
The NFL wants to ban these postgame jersey exchanges this season because of the coronavirus. (Robin Alam/Getty Images)

In yet another example of the nonsensical, money-driven decision to make athletes sacrifice their own health and the safety of team personnel, coaches and family for the entertainment of others, the league in its infinite wisdom has decided to ban the close-contact postgame interactions that have become a tradition for many opponents.

So, again: sweating, spit, possibly blood — A-OK. After-the-fact hugs and photo ops — no.

Hopefully you share our reaction, which is basically this:

(Giphy)
(Giphy)

And players, you know, the ones who are being dragged into this foolishness and putting their well-being and the well-being of others on the line in the name of capitalism, they see how dumb it is, too:

“This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell,” wrote the 49ers’ Richard Sherman. “Players can go engage in a full contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game.”

He punctuated it with some crying laughing emojis.

Fellow cornerback Quandre Diggs, who plays for Sherman’s former team in Seattle, was a little more direct:

“So we can tackle each other for 60min but can’t exchange jersey that takes 2 mins,” Darius Slay tweeted, with more laughing emojis.

If quarterbacks hold more sway with the league, the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson also chimed in: “thats DAMN SILLY bro,” Watson wrote.

One other note: In theory, players won’t be playing unless they’re COVID-free, so what does it matter how those in uniform interact with each other? Does the NFL have any real plan other than (per usual) making it look like it has one superficially?

Playing this year is dumb and dangerous.

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