On the high school level, "most kids think it’s intimidating or it looks good. No one uses it to block out the light." Not necessarily the case in the National Football League where Jerricho Cotchery described...
"A scene in the Jets’ locker room before a game last Sunday, when he and his fellow receiver Laveranues Coles applied eye black as if they were showgirls applying false eyelashes."
Laveranues Coles says that playing without eye black grease was like “playing with no shoulder pads or no helmet.” Although he grew up in sunny Florida, Coles said he never used eye black until he reached the N.F.L. and struggled with glare from stadium lights.
Of course, most athletes do not seem to care much about its intended use and the smudges, pathches and decals have become popular fashion accessories. In case you're wondering if eye black actually works or just help athletes to look even sexier—the answer is yes. A Yale University study tested sensitivity to the sun while wearing eye black grease (Coles), adhesive stickers (Demps) and a placebo. Survey says: "A small, but statistically significant, improvement in contrast sensitivity and glare reduction for participants who wore the eye grease."
The secret is in the grease.
More Will Demps and Laveranues Coles:Will Demps on Gays (Rod 2.0) Happy Birthday Will! (Rod 2.0) In the Kitchen (Rod 2.0) A Very Special Oprah (Rod 2.0)