The 2020 season will be very different from anything we’ve seen in NFL history as the league tries to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic while still pulling off a “normal” regular season. Protocols are being put in place across the four major sports in the United States to help curb a potential outbreak and players are also changing some old habits that the pandemic has revealed to be, well, pretty crass. One example is hand licking.
In today’s world, you are encouraged to keep your hands as far away from your mouth as possible to reduce the risk of infection, but licking your hands was quite common among professional athletes in the pre-COVID world. 19. The NBA and MLB have since banned players from licking their hands when they return to play and while the NFL does not have a current rule in place on the matter, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is looking to put end this habit.
“The point is to help give your hands a little bit of grip so that you have a better grip on the ball,” Brees told Greg Wyshynski of ESPN.com. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately as I started throwing again. Trying to avoid it, but it’s been so common for so long. You don’t realize how hard you touch your face and lick your fingers until COVID hits. “
While Brees has only recently become aware that repeatedly licking your hand in the middle of an NFL game is less than healthful, not everyone needs a global pandemic to make it happen.
“It’s so disgusting, even when there’s no COVID,” former NFL offensive tackle Ryan Harris said. “And look where he puts his hands the game before, the game after, and the game he performs when he licks his fingers. Do the math. Honestly, there are a lot of them every day, don’t give it – a second thought people are going to have to think about. “
The NFL has a number of protocols in place to help keep players safe amid the pandemic, including fines for players entering high-risk areas when they leave team facilities. . Self-policing, however, will be a major factor for players this season, especially since the NFL will be working without a bubble concept like the NBA and NHL have. While Brees licking his hands might seem minimal, it’s a good example of the kind of changes (big and small) we’ll see this season.