CANTON, Ohio — Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts has been canceled because of field conditions at Tom Benson Stadium, Hall of Fame president/executive director David Baker told ESPN's Lisa Salters.
Baker called the decision to cancel the game "difficult," but added that it was an "easy, ethical decision." He said the call was made after consulting with coaches Mike McCarthy and Chuck Pagano, as well as NFL COO Tod Leiweke.
According to Baker, teams will remain at the stadium, and the plan is now to host a "fan fest" of sorts. He also said fans will be refunded their money.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN's Darren Rovell that the league will work with the Packers and Colts to sort out their own financial reimbursement for a game not played.
Multiple sources told ESPN.com that both teams were worried about player safety as crews worked feverishly to spray solvent on the area around the midfield logo. The issue stemmed from the paint used on the logo and in the end zones.
One Packers player described it as "like cement" at midfield, where workers spent more than an hour trying to make it playable.
"The end zones are just as bad," the same player said about 90 minutes before the scheduled 8 p.m. ET kickoff.
"The paint on the logo won't allow a cleat to penetrate it," a Colts source said. "A definite hazard to player safety."
Colts defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin tweeted that he was "juiced" for Sunday night's game, but "safety is number 1."
Game canceled but will go out and talk to fans and sign things. Was juiced but safety is number 1.
— Ricky Lumpkin (@RickyLumpkin) August 7, 2016
Said ESPN in a statement: "While disappointed, we support the NFL's decision as the safety of the players is paramount. We look forward to the debut of football in Los Angeles next Saturday night."
Baker said there were "still some guys who wanted to play," but that they respected the decision to cancel the game.
Sunday's game was to be the ninth event held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. This is not the same surface used in last year's Hall of Fame Game, in which Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a season-ending injury.
"We'll earn from this, without a doubt," Baker told Salters. "We're going to make sure this never happens again."