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NFL and NFLPA undecided on making face shield mandatory

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NFL: NOV 16 49ers at Giants Photo by Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL and NFLPA reportedly haven’t reached an agreement about whether to make face coverings mandatory for the 2020 NFL season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pro Football Talk reported over the weekend that the NFL “wants” face coverings required, but the union prefers to request players to test the face coverings during training camp before a final decision is made. The players don’t want a mandate to use the shields. It’s just one of the various issues that need to be resolved before training camps can open.

In both May and in June NFLPA’s medical director Thom Mayer told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the league’s engineers had teamed up with sports equipment company Oakley to design and test protective face coverings featuring surgical or N95 material that could be used by players:

Back in early March, I had suggested that we should consider novel and emerging ways to handle the helmets and the face masks and the spread of the virus. And these guys, the bioengineers that we use and that the league uses—Oakley, as you may or may not know, does all the face visors for the league under contract—these guys got the bit between their teeth.

So we have a plan to ensure training camp kicks off in three weeks, but as far as face coverings, 11-on-11 activities, and a few other critical areas that determine player safety, there isn’t much clarity from the NFL.