NFL teams will be prohibited from postgame interactions within 6 feet of each other next season, which means players won't be allowed to exchange jerseys. The restrictions, intended to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, are outlined in the game day protocols finalized by the league and NFL Players Association on Wednesday. The 11-page document sent to each club, the AP reports, includes several changes:
- Everyone on the sidelines except players and coaches has to wear a face mask.
- Everyone with access to the bench area is prohibited from sharing any personal items, including cups, food, towels, and clothing.
- Anyone who records a body temperature at or above 100.4 degrees on game day will not be permitted to enter the stadium.
- Inactive players must either be in the designated bench area or in the locker room, an empty suite, or some other designated, isolated location in the stadium during pregame and throughout the game to avoid interactions with non-team personnel.
- On-field fan seating is prohibited.
- Cheerleaders, mascots, flag runners, and other entertainers must be approved by the NFL in advance and, if approved, must meet physical distancing and screening and testing requirements.
- Media is barred from the locker room.
Several players criticized the league over jersey exchanges. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman wrote on Twitter: "This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. 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." Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson called it silly and asked, "why are they letting us play at all?" The league and the players' union still haven’t agreed on testing and screening protocols.
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