As the NFL prepares for its post-COVID start, Texans star J.J. Watt is threatening to sit out over face shields being required. Pssst…no he won’t.
What we needed in the midst of all this post-pandemic planning was a little levity. Thanks to the Houston Texans own JJ Watt we now have some. His pique and threat to not play if he was forced to wear gear meant to protect himself and others was nonsensical, and really just silly. I can give you 15.5 million reasons he’s playing with a mask if that’s what the league decrees.
First of all, this isn’t a health concern for J.J. Watt, so there will be no waiver or opt-out for him. Some players have legitimate health concerns about being exposed to the virus. “I didn’t like that one time I wore a shield” is not one of them. The rest of the country is dealing with masks to protect others, even if it is inconvenient but JJ is gonna refuse to play if he has to?
I get that it may not be comfortable and that it may require getting used to. Equipment is constantly adapting within all sports and sometimes the players don’t love the changes. At the end of the day, this is one of the few times the league actually plans to do something about player safety, so naturally, the players have an issue with it.
Now it’s my experience that nobody is better at cashing in then Mr.Watt so maybe he could turn this into a new way to tell everyone how good a guy he is? Maybe some PSA’s about how JJ Watt wears a mask so you should too? Or he can put up some Instagram clips of him sweating in the mask at training camp, and telling us how hard he’s working to get used to it. Then he can have stories written about how JJ Watt is overcoming the burden of his face shield and still on the field. I’m just spitballing here, J.J. Watt is far better than me at self-promotion and probably could come up with something better.
Remember last year when Antonio Brown was mocked because he only wanted to play with a specific helmet? He filed grievances, threatened to not play etc…and what happened? He recorded his coach calling him, got cut by two teams, and allegedly assaulted a moving company employee. Now I don’t think JJ will follow in his footsteps exactly (but I would have a lot more to write about if he did) but what he will do that Brown did is this….he will play.
Now I knew Mr.Watt had an outsized ego, but this is a lot even for him. Does he think the threat of him not playing should impact the league’s decisions about player safety? Does he envision a scenario where Roger Goodell and whatever medical team he half-heartedly listens to decide masks need to be mandatory but then say “wait…..we can’t have JJ play..nevermind the masks. Now how do we pretend to be concerned about concussions?” If he were Tom Brady…maybe.
Things have been quiet for a while. And JJ my man, I appreciate you giving me something to write about. At the end of the day though we both know you’re not sitting out, and that the league’s gonna do what the league’s gonna do. Now do some one-armed push-ups and smile for the camera big guy. See you and your face shield at camp.