NFL’s revised protocols reiterate post-game restrictions

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The protocols issued by the league in July prohibit players from interacting with less than six feet between them after games. The revised protocols reiterate that restriction.

The original memo, issued on July 8, and the revised memo, issued on October 6, contain the same language regarding post-game protocols. Strangely, however, post-game on-field meetings have happened all year long — culminating in Monday night’s face-to-face meeting between Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who would test positive the next morning.

Last night, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady made a beeline for the locker room after a loss to Chicago. It’s unclear whether he was respecting the protocols or simply looking for the nearest hole into which he’d climb after his fourth-down brain fart. FOX’s images of the aftermath of the game showed a smattering of opposing players greeting each other while Nick Foles did the John-Travolta-in-Pulp-Fiction thing as he presumably waited for Brady to show good sportsmanship.

It’s unclear whether the post-game ban on players getting within six feet of each other constitutes good science. In confirming that the rule remains in effect, the league quoted this passage from its game-day protocols: “The CDC defines ‘Close Contact’ as living in the same household, being within six (6) feet of someone for at least fifteen (15) consecutive minutes, or being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on). Close Contact does not include brief interactions, such as walking past someone. For purposes of clarity, this shall include individuals who have had Close Contact with an infected individual while playing a game or during game associated travel.”

If that’s the case, why prevent any interaction within six feet after games? The mere fact that the league has the rule implies that the league thinks the rule is worthwhile. If it doesn’t believe that (and/or if it’s not going to enforce the rule), it should remove the rule.