Oakley spent plenty of time and effort creating a face shield for 2020. Now Oakley has to find players who will actually wear it.
Several weeks ago, Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt made it clear that he’s not interested in wearing one. On Thursday, Rams safety John Johnson said he’s not interested, either.
His basic reasoning for it was simple: “Just because I don’t know what it is supposed to do.”
He said that he hadn’t seen any of his teammates using it, and that he “highly doubt[s]” that he’ll use it, given that he already wear a visor.
Johnson, like others, has concerns about the impact of the face shield on his breathing.
“It might,” Johnson said. “So that’s why I don’t even want to dabble with it. If it was close to 100 percent in protecting me, then maybe I would wear it. But I don’t see how that’s going to help anything, so I’m not going to wear it.”
The message from Johnson’s comments is clear: The NFL hasn’t done enough to explain the benefit of wearing the face shield. If that had happened, Johnson would know specifically how it would help.
Indeed, if it were a truly critical component for the limitation of the spread of the virus, the NFL would have (or should have) found a way to make wearing it mandatory. But the NFL believes that the playing of games will entail a low risk of virus transmission, since the games aren’t played in a confined space.
The mere fact that the NFL felt compelled to develop a face shield contradicts its confidence in the difficulty of transmitting the virus during games. Maybe the NFL doesn’t want to further undermine its belief that the risks of on-field transmission are low by harping on the potential benefits to using a face shield.
Regardless, for as hard as it may be to transmit the virus during games, it’s even harder to find someone who is willing to wear a face shield.