Questions remain about the NFL playing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The players want to play in 2020, though they want to do so in a safe manner and the league and the players union still haven’t come to an agreement on what exactly that entails.
Players took to social media to express their concerns in a coordinated campaign. The message was clear: they want to play but they need an agreement in place that ensures safety.
“We need Football! We need sports! We need hope! The NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent that,” Drew Brees tweeted. “If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. Get it done @NFL“
Russell Wilson wrote on Twitter: “I am concerned. My wife is pregnant. NFL training camp is about to start. And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety. We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones.”
Stefon Diggs compared the situation in the NFL to that of the NBA, tweeting that if ” (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver can respect the voices and protect his (NBA) players why can’t the (NFL commissioner)?”
Many other players expressed concerns as well.
NFL Confirms Training Camp Schedule
The NFL has confirmed its training camp schedule despite not having stringent COVID-19 protocols in place as other leagues do.
Rookies are set to report on July 21, followed by quarterbacks and injured players on July 23. All players are scheduled to report on July 28.
All 32 NFL teams’ Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) plans now have been approved by Allen Sills—the NFL’s chief medical officer and joining expert—according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post. The NFL’s player union has received the plans and its awaiting review.
What protocols the players are seeking is unclear, though it’s possible that the plans that have been submitted will be suffice.
There Will Be No Fans at Training Camp
There will be no fans at training camps, as Pro Football Action relays. Teams are allowed to do two events at their stadium if local laws allow. Many teams have already ruled out having fans in the stands, though the Raiders are among the franchises holding out hope that they can fill their new stadium in Las Vegas with people in 2020.
Many bars in Nevada, including Las Vegas, have closed again after a brief window of reopening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourists certainly played a part in Las Vegas’ woes and should the Raiders sell tickets in their new stadium, people will certainly flow to Sin City to see the team play, something that could be problematic to combating the virus.
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