Veteran members of the Green Bay Packers, including All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and star wide receiver Davante Adams, banded together with other NFL players on Sunday afternoon to deliver a clear message to the league.
More than 90 players — many of them the stars of their respective teams — took to Twitter in a coordinated fashion and shared their own personal concerns with playing the 2020 season under the league’s current health and safety plan regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The players used the hashtag “#WeWanttoPlay” to unify their words into a single sentiment.
Bakhtiari and Adams weren’t the only Packers who participated in the social media blitz. New inside linebacker Christian Kirksey, 2018 third-round draft pick Oren Burks and 2019 first-round pick Rashan Gary also penned their own tweets, demanding answers and “a safe work environment for us all.”
Among the other NFL stars who contributed to the conversation: Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, DK Metcalf, Tyrann Mathieu, Drew Brees, Stefon Diggs, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Devin and Jason McCourty, DeAndre Hopkins and Kirk Cousins.
The NFLPA has yet to reach an agreement with the owners on a number of matters concerning the upcoming season, including how often players will be tested for COVID-19, what procedures will take place if a player is tests positive and what money the league will attempt to withhold from players who miss time after contracting the virus.
“We know that players are taking all of the risk by returning to work,” the NFLPA wrote in a statement last Friday. “We also know there will be a shortfall in revenues next year, but players cannot be asked to bear the full brunt of both the health and safety risk and the financial one. We are bargaining for fair and reasonable ways to soften the short-term economic losses in our business.”
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NFL Teams Have Now Received IDER Plans
The league has taken its sweet time putting together health and safety plans for the upcoming season, but there was some progress made on Sunday — at least, it would seem.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Allen Stills, and joint experts have approved the Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) plans for all 32 teams. He added the NFLPA has received the plans and has approved some of them, but is still reviewing the rest.
Full approval for the IDER plans won’t end the ongoing discussions between owners and players, but it would mark a significant step in helping both sides feel secure about 2020. As was the players’ reminder in their social media blitz, they want to play football this year — just not if the process means putting themselves and their family at elevated risk of contracting COVID-19.
As league sources later told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL and owners are scheduled to hold a league meeting at 2 p.m. E.T. on Monday in an attempt to finalize the health and safety measures for the 2020 season as well as financial arrangments and the possible reduction or elimination of the preseason.