The NFL’s plans for a 2020 season are a work in progress, to put it mildly. Training camp is weeks away but there are major questions that are entirely unresolved, and the NFLPA is digging its heels in as the NFL sorts out how many fans can be in the stands, what kind of protocols will be in place to keep players safe, and much more.
It’s difficult to blame the players for being a bit skeptical of the whole thing, given that the NFL has not exactly consistently acted with their best interests in mind in the past, and because other sports are struggling to get off the ground without cases piling up. It’s even more difficult to blame them when you see what the NFL is planning to do with postgame celebrations.
NFL teams will be forbidden from postgame interactions within 6 feet of each other and jersey exchanges between players will be prohibited during the 2020 season, sources say.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 9, 2020
Another way the NFL will look different in the COVID-19 world.
On its face, there’s nothing objectionable about this. Keeping players separated after games is one way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which is more easily spread in close contact. In a vacuum, this is just sound policy, even if players are probably going to be bummed that they won’t be able to swap jerseys and shake hands.
The problem is that this isn’t happening in a vacuum. These same players are going to have to run in close contact, tackle one another, and otherwise breathe heavily within 6 feet of one another for 16 games, if the NFL gets to play a full season. What they do postgame isn’t going to matter at all in light of that, and it feels like the league is just trying to exert some level of control over a situation that is fundamentally beyond their control.
There is much the NFL and NFLPA hasn’t agreed to, including this, so the twists and turns we’ve become used to this spring and summer will continue. This just isn’t going to be the thing that keeps COVID-19 from wrecking the league year.