Hall of Fame president: Canceling the game “very, very difficult”
Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker says the decision to cancel tonight’s Hall of Fame Game wasn’t easy but was necessary because of unsafe field conditions.
“This is a very, very difficult decision for us today,” Baker said on ESPN. “A lot of these fans came a long way. But we think it’s the only decision that can be made.”
Baker said the field was ready to go until today, when the grounds crew used the wrong kind of paint to put the logos on the 50-yard line and in the end zones.
“This is a brand-new field,” he said. “It passed the test when it was first installed, it passed the test this morning when the cover came off from the enshrinement, but apparently as a result of painting some things at the midfield and the end zone, the paint congealed. And I think there were some players who had some concerns, some physicians from the teams who had some concerns. We thought we would be able to remediate it by delaying the game for as much as an hour. But in the end, if it’s remotely close to unsafe, we conferred with the league, we think the best thing to do is respect the safety of the players. It’s the only thing to do.”
Baker said he talked to players on both teams and they’ve agreed to come out and greet the fans in attendance. The Hall of Fame will also have a moment to recognize this year’s enshrinement class. But there won’t be a game.
“There were still some guys who wanted to play, just like football players are,” Baker said.
Players who are trying to earn a roster spot surely wanted to go out there and prove themselves. Now they won’t get that chance.