NFL players have been voicing their support for a “sadistic” new rule that bans the use of construction cones on NFL games.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the rules were made in response to players’ injuries and safety concerns.
“We’re going to have to change it because there’s a lot of people who are going to feel it’s cruel,” he said.
The NFL Players Association called the rules “unnecessary, unfair, and counterproductive.”
“We know there are some who are using the term ‘cowardice,’ but there’s not one,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.
“This is about protecting the health and safety of our players and fans.
There’s no reason why we should have to play a game that is inherently dangerous.”
The rules ban construction cones, which are made from metal rods and rubberized, from being used during football games.
It was the first time the league has made a rule that prohibits the use in stadiums.
The use of cones has been controversial in the NFL for years.
In 2012, a study found that more than half of the NFL players surveyed had used them on game days.
Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that the NFL’s ban on the use was unconstitutional, citing the concussion risks.
The ruling led to a series of court challenges, which eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in February 2016 to overturn a lower court’s ruling that blocked the ban.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has repeatedly said that construction cones are dangerous and that they’re unnecessary.
He said the rule is designed to protect the safety of players and their families.
“It’s not cruel to the players or the teams,” Goodell said.
“But it is cruel to our fans, our players, and their family members who are on the sidelines.”
The NFL said the new rule is the result of more than 100 hours of research.
The league’s safety committee is considering a proposal that would allow fans to hold up construction cones at a designated viewing area.
NFL players are allowed to stand during the national anthem before games, and players who don’t wish to take part in the anthem can wear a “die-in” shirt.
The rule has been a divisive issue for years in the league.
Players have taken to social media to protest the new rules.
“The players want to do the right thing,” NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath wrote on Twitter.
“They want to be a force for good.
But they are NOT going to let their egos get in the way of good sportsmanship.
They will stand together and fight to make America great again.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.