To protect its players from the coronavirus, the NFL has come up with several guidelines that limit player interactions. Oakland Raiders wideout Henry Ruggs was among those who blasted the rule.
Via Twitter, Ruggs expressed his disbelief about the new rule which limits postgame interactions and forbids jersey swaps for the Raiders and all other teams.
Y'all can't be serious 🤦🏾♂️ Like are people not thinking 🧐 https://t.co/2zgiupQS54
— HJR III™💎 (@__RUGGS) July 9, 2020
The rule hasn't been etched in stone. According to NFL reporter Tom Pelissero, the league and the players association medical committee have yet to finalize rules to protect the health and well-being of its players. As such, the aforementioned guidelines could still be modified or eventually scrapped. One wonders where the Raiders stand on this.
While the joint NFL-NFLPA medical committee has worked together for months to develop various protocols, a union source says the game-day protocols sent to clubs last night — including the ban on postgame jersey swaps — have not yet been agreed to. “Still a work in progress.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 9, 2020
Nevertheless, it has attracted a number of criticisms from players, fans, and spectators alike. Apart from Ruggs of the Raiders, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman slammed the new rule via 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.”
Several echoed Sherman's sentiments, highlighting how American football is an extreme contact sport. As such, the social distancing rule doesn't make any sense at all.
After blocking and tackling each other for 60 minutes right wouldn’t want them getting too close after the game
— NFL24.7NEWS (@nfl24_7news) July 9, 2020
It's not just one player (Ruggs) from the Raiders who spoke up. New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee reinterpreted the rule in a comedic yet blunt way:
Set aside Henry Ruggs of the Raiders for the moment. For his part, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs simply couldn't believe the protocol.
Not trying to be funny or anything but this gotta be a joke
— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) July 9, 2020
Given the ample criticism the social distancing rule has amassed, the NFL will likely regroup and rethink it all over. Hopefully, the league come up with a more logical protocol to protect the health and well-being of its players.