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NFL, Oakley Unveil New Face Shield to Protect Players From Coronavirus

Oakley has developed a new shield for the inside of facemasks that it believes will help NFL players prevent the spread of coronavirus this season. The NFL has not mandated its use yet, but the League and Oakley are strongly advocating for use of the new shield.

CBS Sports — "Just like any face shield or face mask for that matter, you're thinking about the aerosolization of droplets and the spread of it via that mechanism, which is starting to be recognized as the more important mode of transmission," said NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills, via the Associated Press. "From the start, the NFL Players Association, their medical advisers, their engineers have been engaged with us. We've also had dialogue with players along the way trying to look at early prototypes and developments."

It seems like a great idea. I hope it works and is something which makes football this fall more likely. But while it initially sounds like a no-brainer, it's far from a popular idea with players. J.J. Watt went as far as to say he may not play this season if the shields became required.

247Sports — “My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet,” Watt said recently. “I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off I’m gonna die out here.’ … So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field.”

Also, it only takes a little bit of a closer look to see that the shield meant to protect players from a virus which transmits via microscopic particles in the air … has holes in it?

I am very clearly not a doctor nor someone who deals in football face shields, so I'm sure there is something I'm missing. I'd just like to know what that is.

Regardless, if this is something which makes football even marginally more likely, I'm all for it. Players are creatures of habit, so it will likely take some convincing to have these become widespread, but whatever gives us football is something that needs to be explored.