In a new twist on this week’s oddest NFL story, a company that makes hand towels specifically designed for athletes says that the Chargers were using its product — not Stickum or any other prohibited adhesive — during the Monday night incident in which officials suspected Chargers players were violating league rules.
The NFL is investigating whether the Chargers were using an adhesive substance like Stickum (which was once popular with NFL receivers and defensive backs but was banned by the league more than 30 years ago) during their Monday night loss to the Broncos. Chargers coach Norv Turner said his players weren’t using Stickum but were just using a type of towel that the Chargers have used for years. However, Turner did not specify what kind of towel it was.
Now the towel-making company Gorilla Gold has come forward to say the Chargers were using its Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer towels, which use “all-natural resins” to improve the grips of athletes in many sports. Gorilla Gold says its products leave no residue on the football and are not against the rules.
“In regards to the recent NFL controversy involving Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers,” the company said in a statement, “they were not the first, nor are they the only team or players to use Gorilla Gold. It has been in use by many teams including the CFL for over ten years on the field, on the sideline, and in the training room.”
Gorilla Gold did not name any other NFL teams or any NFL players who use its towels, and the NFL has not said publicly whether Gorilla Gold towels are permitted under league rules. When the league’s investigation is completed, we’ll all learn more about what the NFL permits players to put on their hands during games. And the Chargers could learn that players putting the wrong products on their hands could cost the team draft picks.