As the NFL marches towards September, the league is trying to make the on-field experience as safe as possible for players, which is why the NFL is encouraging players to wear protective face shields that are meant to limit the spread of COVID-19. But while some players, like Russell Wilson, are embracing the face shield, others have said they won't wear them, including defensive superstar Aaron Donald.
"I need air when I'm out there, running around and breathing, with the long drives and stuff," Donald said, via ESPN "I feel like we're out there, we're playing up close, there's nothing you can really do – if a guy got it and I tackle the guy then I probably got it because he's going to be sweating, spitting and slobbering right in my face ... hopefully guys are just doing what they need to do."
It's easy to see where Donald is coming from, as playing in the NFL requires insane athleticism, and the idea of guys wearing masks that may cause them to struggle to breathe sounds counter-intuitive. But at the same time, we are in unprecedented times and the idea of not taking every safety precaution possible in the midst of a pandemic feels incredibly risky.
For now, the NFL has indicated that they will not require players to wear protective face shields, though the league is hopeful that most players will embrace them and end up wearing them for games. With the NFL opting to avoid a bubble strategy, it will be essential to be vigilant and proactive about player safety.