The NFL is not kidding around with its new policy requiring all players to wear thigh and knee pads.
Instead of issuing the measly $5,000 fine doled out for other uniform violations (socks too low, wrong color cleats, etc.), the league will remove players from the game if they are not in line with the new regulations, according to USA Today.
Wearing a little extra padding may not seem like a huge deal to those watching on TV, but given the fact that an estimated 70% of NFLers do not wear any leg protection, adhering to the new rules this season could take a little getting used to.
If the policy seems a little severe, that’s the point. Many players would willingly pay monetary fines, says Merton Hanks, the league’s vice president of football operations and a former NFL safety himself, but sidelining culprits will force everyone to adopt the pads in a hurry.
“The more important deterrent, quite frankly, is that player will be removed from the game, and no player wants to miss time on game day,” Hanks told USA Today. “The coaches certainly have voiced their opinion — that’s not something they’re willing to tolerate. Can you imagine having a player that you’ve designed a play for not in the game because he’s chosen not to adhere to the padding options that every other player has to adhere to?”
Hanks clarified that a player would not be ejected from the game for violating the new regulations, but he would be sent to the sideline and not allowed to return until his pads met the proper standards.
The policy will go into effect this season.