In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the NFL has introduced the Oakley Mouth Shield, a product designed in partnership with Oakley and doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association.
While there’s no official mandate from the NFL that players must wear the protective device, medical experts are in favor of them doing so.
“That’s certainly what we’re going to encourage,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, in an interview with ESPN. “And we hope that we’re going to land on a product design that’s something that everyone would want to wear, because they’ll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance.”
However, it doesn’t sound as if all players are on board, most notably Houston Texans star J.J. Watt.
“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.”
– – Quotes via Brad Crawford of 247Sports Link – –