Are customized facemasks the bane of the NFL’s existence? Well, that’s the tagline that is being featured in various descriptions of the football organization’s recent ban on all customized facemasks that fail to meet the required health regulations, according to SportingNews.
Since the release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” football players have adopted these customized facemasks. It was first introduced last year by New York Giant’s Justin Tuck, who debuted the “Bane” style customized mask. For the past year now, a lot of players have started to wear these masks.
Last week, officials in the NFL issued notices to teams and players. The first, according to the Christian Post, was sent to Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis, who had purchased one of these masks that features numerous cross bars and a sunshade across the eyes.
Brian McCarthy told NFL.com and the NFL Network last week in an email that the facemasks that have been used throughout the training camp thus far have been “considered a prohibited non-standard customized face mask." He added: “A player would need a medical reason to wear this type of face mask.”
Other players will be forced to refrain from wearing these kinds of masks, including Darnell Dockett of the Arizona Cardinals, DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskin's Brian Orakpo. However, Tuck and Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty will be permitted to wear customized facemasks after they applied for medical clearances – Tuck noted a neck injury and Canty opts for one due to an eye injury.
The Bleacher Report highlighted the many facemasks in an article posted Monday.
Despite the hard work made by the players to obtain these masks, some of them have accepted the decision and moved on. Orakpo told the Washington Post during training camp that he just has to make a switch for the time being.
“I have to make a switch just for the time being, after all that work,” said Orakpo. “But, you know, the league is funny about trying to alter stuff. We’re still trying to fight it. But they obviously denied everybody. You had a lot of guys – myself, [Robert] Mathis, Darnell Dockett. There’s a lot of guys that got denied. It was pretty disheartening. But I’ll be all right.”
Orakpo was confused by the decision, though, because the facemasks help protect them and there are many health benefits to sporting them.
“It’s kind of tough,” Orakpo added. Obviously it’s different. And it does have a sort of look appeal to it. But it’s also for protection as well. We’re supposed to be all about protection and we get denied for something that benefits us. It’s something that’s kind of disheartening.”
He has yet to appeal the decision and is attempting to do so. “Hopefully we can,” Orakpo told the Washington news outlet. “We’re obviously in the process right now of trying to get it cleared again. But right now we’re denied so we just have to go with what they say.”