NEW YORK, NY – Keeping his promise to “Play Safe, Play Smart” and uphold player safety, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell has implemented a new policy whereby NFL players are expected to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds before and after each play.
“After the terrible flu season of last year, we cannot take any chances and must do this to not only protect the players and coaches, but the fans too,” Goodell told reporters earlier this morning, rinsing his hands for the entire duration of the 20-minute press conference. “The safest thing we can do for this game of football is to make sure every hand on the field and on the sideline is squeaky clean before each snap.”
Goodell cites health care as his inspiration for making the change, and he makes a reasonable point. Health care professionals are encouraged to wash their hands between patient encounters or, at the very least, foam in and foam out, using alcohol-based sanitizers, which has helped reduce the transmission of infectious diseases.
“The Commissioner thought about alcohol-based sanitizers, but the problem is that most players have visibly soiled or dirty hands after a play,” said DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). “This is the right decision for NFL players and for football. Besides, who wouldn’t want to watch Tom Brady wash his hands?”
According to the new rule, any player or coach who violates this policy will be suspended for 5-games and be fined $150,000. The money will go into a fund dedicated to the building of sinks in end zones around the league.
NFL fans around the league respect protecting the livelihood of its players, but many wonder if the new rules might hinder a game that has quite a few stoppages already.
“I thought video replay was painful,” replied Timothy Stevens, a Giants fan who lives in Manhattan. “The idea of watching all 22 players on the field line up to wash their hands? And after each and every play? I don’t know if that makes for primetime television.”