Why Are Players Wearing Masks on the Sidelines?

I did something this Thanksgiving that I hadn’t done in about a decade-and-a-half.

I didn’t have to work at night after dinner.

That sounds trivial, but one of the greatest holidays in America is always a workday for me. Ever since the NFL installed a third Thanksgiving game, I’ve been working Thanksgiving night. This is not a complaint, but rather an observation because it felt so odd to not have to do anything following the conclusion of the Redskins’ win over the Cowboys this past Thursday.

Most of my Thanksgiving night plans entailed hanging out with my 3-year-old niece. She approached me following dinner and asked me to have a “farting contest” (vocally)s and then she wanted to watch some cartoon on Netflix called Super Wings where talking airplanes make deliveries to different countries. In one episode, the planes delivered a bubble blower to a boy, who then trapped innocent sea animals in his giant bubbles. These animals would have floated to their demise had the planes not popped the balloons and saved the animals during their free fall. It was one of the most intense things I had ever seen.

Luckily, I was able to have a conversation with some adults as well. My dad, who wanted to know how he had lost $200 betting on the Cowboys, had a follow-up question about the NFL’s new sideline mask mandate, which requires all players to now wear masks on the sideline.

“Why were all of those idiots wearing masks on the sideline?” my dad asked, who told me he had watched the first half before I had arrived at my parents’ house.

“It makes no sense,” he continued. “The quarterbacks lick their fingers all the time in between plays. If they do that, what’s a mask supposed to do?”

He had a point, and I had no answer to his question. It really makes no sense, and it reminded me of the restaurant mandate where you have to wear a mask into the restaurant, but not when sitting at the table. On an NFL field, the players are tackling each other and breathing on everyone while doing so, and yes, they are also licking their fingers. Tell me: What in the world is a mask doing on the sideline?

All of this is cosmetic theater. From the restaurants, to the NFL sideline, it’s all nonsense. Anyone capable of thinking logically realizes how ridiculous this is. The only question is, why is this happening, especially in the wake of an accurate Danish study that proved that masks are not effective in spreading a virus with a 99.98-percent recovery rate?

It’s a shame that the NFL has succumbed to the authoritarians and their cosmetic theater. With NFL ratings suffering, the league would gain huge public support by reversing their ridiculous new mandate and leading the charge to end required mask-wearing in general.

The NFL would stand to benefit from this greatly. The league isn’t in terrible shape like the NBA, but it insulted the general public earlier during the season. Everyone would quickly forget about that if the NFL tossed away the masks.

At least, I think that’s a good idea. Between the farting contest and the Super Wings episode, I’m a bit loopy, but I’m pretty sure what I wrote makes sense.

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