So once again NFL players have stepped outside of the bounds of authority and come up with customized facemasks that have put them in the League’s proverbial “dog house”. The lattice-worked looking facemasks are more a throwback to the days of the gladiators than perhaps an updated version of facial protection.
But don’t dare do anything not first “authorized” by the NFL’s fashion police, and don’t think for a moment this has anything to do with the safety of players. This is everything about maintaining CONTROL of the on field product which has gone from shoes, to gloves, to towels, to caps, to celebrative choreography and now to facemasks.
The same old propaganda will come from the NFL Office but in the end it’s all about CONTROL. True safety concern would come from requiring ALL players to wear mouthpieces, or ALL players to wear hip, thigh, and knee pads (though recent moves are heading in that direction).
I found a website that focuses solely on NFL injuries and nice article by Blaine Blontz covering the very topic of the legitimacy of the new-look facemasks from a medical doctor’s perspective.
Should players be allowed to wear new-look facemasks?
We’ve all started to see some of the new, strange-looking facemasks crop up around the NFL. While some think these simply look ‘cool’ or even more menacing, others sport the facemasks — or potentially hope to do so — because of their health benefits. Because the NFL doesn’t appreciate non-standard attire when it comes to their game, the league is mandating player’s provide medical reasoning if they hope to wear a facemask other than the standard.
Dr. Ray Solano provides his take on the facemask situation, specifically looking into the case of Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo (as seen below):
“The NFL has started to notify players in the league that they are not allowed to wear their newly styled facemasks this upcoming season. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday that many of the masks are “considered prohibited non-standard customized face masks.” According to McCarthy, “a player would need a medical reason to wear this type of face mask.” Many of these reasons fall under previous face and neck injuries.