Click to enlarge
After a brief Twitter leak on Wednesday, which was then taken taken down, the helmet manufacturer Schutt yesterday officially announced a new product called the Splash Shield, which according to a press release “will offer some protection for football players from harmful droplets caused by talking, sneezing, and coughing in close proximity.” I believe this product, which Schutt says will be available to ship by July 1, is the first new piece of sports equipment — or at least the first one that I’m aware of — directly related to the pandemic, although I’m sure it won’t be the last.
The development of this type of product has been hinted at for a few weeks now. Back on May 18, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer said that when the NFL returned to action, it was reasonable to expect that players might have to wear some sort of mask that “could cover a player’s entire face,” which is essentially what the Splash Shield does.
Schutt is being careful not to overpromise here. The term “some protection” — not exactly a hyperbolic claim — appears twice in the press release, including in this sentence: “While the Splash Shield will offer some protection, it can only limit exposure to airborne droplets that the athlete encounters during play.” In other words, it’s not like wearing an N95, but it’s probably better than nothing.
The press release isn’t long on details, but I followed up with Schutt and can tell you the following:
• The Splash Shield comes in two separate pieces — one for the upper part of the facemask, like the standard visor that we’re used to seeing, and one for the lower part (click to enlarge):
If a player already has a standard visor, he can just use the lower portion of the Splash Shield.
• The splash shield is thinner and more flexible than a standard visor, and also has slots in various locations. Schutt says this allows it to fit virtually any mask on any helmet — not just Schutt helmets.
• The product can be washed and used again, although the press release also notes that it’s “inexpensive enough to be disposable.”
• Speaking of which: The product will be priced at $14.99 for the three-pack of uppers or lowers, or $24.99 for a three-pack for both pieces.
I suspect we’ll see other products like this soon. After the Schutt announcement yesterday, I asked Riddell if they had a similar product in the works. They said they’d get back to me but didn’t have a statement ready by the end of the day. I’ll post a follow-up if I hear back from them.
Either way, it seems likely that this type of product — whether made by Schutt, Riddell, Oakley, or whomever — will soon be standard, or even required, on the football field, at least until there’s a vaccine.
Membership update: A few of the orders we received on Purple Amnesty Day were, thankfully, purple-free! That includes Erik Vogeler’s card, which is based on the Fresno Tacos — a good choice!
Erik’s design is one of several that have been added to the membership card gallery, as we contue to plug away at the big backlog of orders. Thanks for all your support!
Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Athletic has a good story (paywalled) about the MLBPA “barnstorm tour” that almost came to be in 1995, should the strike have gone on longer. It even includes pictures of the uniforms that would’ve been used (from Michael Romero).
Football News: Here’s a cool article and video on Paper Stadiums’ Candlestick Park model. Paper Stadiums makes models of ballparks and stadiums out of paper products, and hand-draws each details (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s some footage of Pitt practicing the day before the 1976 Sugar Bowl in all-white helmets. “Was this common in the ’70s?” asks Jon Garber.
Hockey News: In this hugely entertaining 1985 video of Devils G Chico Resch freaking out on the refs, Resch is wearing a blue blocker and pad. He had previously played for the Islanders and Devils forerunners the Colorado Rockies, but 1985 was Resch’s third season with the Devils. Why would he still have blue gear? Hmmm (from Frank Mercogliano).
Soccer News: More George Floyd protests from the soccer world: Players on the Turkish team Beşiktaş formed a “GF” during training yesterday, and winger Tokmac Nguen of Hungarian side Ferencváros received a written reprimand from the Hungarian Football Federation for revealing a “Justice for George Floyd” T-shirt during a match (both from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Bundesliga team SC Freiburg will wear a one-off shirt today against Borussia Mönchengladbach (from Josh Hinton). … New outfitter for German second division side Arminia Bielefeld, which is moving from Joma to Macron (from Ed Żelaski). … Premier League side Bournemouth has ended its advertising deal with Asian bookmaker M88 and will complete its season without a primary shirt advertiser (from @TexasTrevor).
Grab Bag: Disturbing article about how some law enforcement officers in DC have been wearing uniforms that don’t designate their identity or even their agency affiliation (WaPo link) (from Jerry Wolper). … The new Major League Rugby expansion franchise in Dallas will be called the Jackals. The team also revealed its logo (from Sy Hart and Evan Stewart). … Also from Sy: The Southwestern Athletic Conference debuted an updated logo in a graphic announcing the addition of Florida A&M to the conference. … The University of Tennessee has sued a Knoxville-based bail bond company for poaching the school’s “Power T” logo (from James Gilbert). … Police officers in New York are being accused of covering their badge numbers while covering the ongoing George Floyd protests, which is a breach of uniform rules (from Timmy Donahue). … Fun fact: During the 1970 season, Grand Prix drivers Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, and Piers Courage wore helicopter pilots’ helmets instead of standard auto racing helmets (from David Firestone).
Click to enlarge
What Paul did last night: Around the corner from us, and then around the next corner, there’s a food pantry that offers free provisions on Fridays. Due to the pandemic and the resulting shutdown, business there has been booming. So many people now show up each Friday that the line routinely stretches down the very long block that the pantry is on, then around the corner, down the next block, around the next corner, and up our block, right past our house. It’s powerful and horrible and humbling.
The pantry sometimes sends out volunteers to help maintain social distancing among the people standing in line, but this week they’ve apparently decided to try something different. When we went out for Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ yesterday evening, we saw that signs had been placed on many of the trees on our side of the street — you can see one on the tree in front of the Tugboat Captain. Here’s a closer look:
Hmmmm. For starters, there are no white/red lines on the sidewalk, and I’m fairly certain no such lines will be added by 10:30am, when the queue usually starts to form. Also, it’s odd that the design shows a doctor and a nurse. Looks like someone went online and found any old social distancing flier, not noticing or caring that it’s apparently for a medical office.
Anyway, it was a very nice time on the porch yesterday. Our neighbor Jason stopped by, and so did our UPS guy, Ricky, plus we met a few new dogs, including one named Wolfie! Sorry, no photos of the pooches.
The branch is still there.
As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos — now a whopping 80 of them — here.
Raffle results: The winner of the June pin is Greg Morrison. Congrats to him, and big thanks to Diego Bauzá for sponsoring this one.
Happy birthday to our own Jamie Rathjen, who compiles the Tickers that appear on Mondays. Enjoy your special day as best you can, buddy!
This was a really hard week for me, and I’m sure for many of you. Take care, stay safe, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul