As players across the league continue to test positive for COVID-19, the NFL is asking all the players to wear facemasks on the sidelines of games, while waiting to enter the field of play.
In a statement by the NFL on Friday, the league’s management council writes, “A player wearing a mask during a close contact has a significantly reduced probability of being designated a “High-Risk Close Contact” after exposure to a COVID-positive individual.”
The NFL has thrown around the idea of going into a playoff bubble, similar to the one the NHL and NBA were in.
Outbreaks Within NFL Teams
Earlier this month, an outbreak happened within the Tennessee Titans organization. It forced them to cancel a game against the Steelers in week four. At least nine players tested positive for the virus on the Titans.
Last week, the Broncos also canceled practice after an unnamed player tested positive. The organization has said that the player is in isolation, along with two players he was in contact with.
Another team had a player test positive for COVID-19. Through contact tracing, 17 teammates and two staff members were notified of possible exposure. None of the people he came in contact with were wearing masks at the time.
“Although the experts have determined that the positive player’s testing history established that he was likely, not contagious on game day (he had a negative test on game day as well as the days before and after), the number of potential “High-Risk Close Contacts” identified by this exercise is concerning as it relates to potential exposure and transmission,” said the statement by the NFL on Friday.
In addition, the push for masks along the sidelines comes after close to 50 players, and 70 personnel have tested positive since the start of the season in August. Along with the mask mandate, the NFL is asking those on the sidelines to social distance as best as possible.
The Chief Football Administrative Officer Dawn Aponte spoke in a conference call on Friday. She said that wearing masks and social distancing are critical to the season’s success.
The goal for the NFL is to “work collectively to identify areas of vulnerability for transmit.”
Numerous games have had to be canceled throughout the season, as players have become too comfortable with the current condition.