It is understandable that people, in general, are concerned about the coronavirus – it has caused catastrophic consequences in the country in terms of casualties and financial pitfalls in all sports leagues. The number of cases is rising every day, and it seems it will take more than just a little time for it to disappear from our lives. It’s no surprise, then, that some NFL players have decided to opt out of the season due to fears of COVID-19.
The NFL Makes A Deal With The NFLPA
At the end of last week, the NFL and NFLPA reached an agreement on several aspects. One of them was the salary in case a player needs or wants to opt out of the NFL season. The players are entitled to abandon the 2020 season without getting a sanction, and will even be paid, but, course, only a small part of the normal salary.
As quickly as the ink was signed on the agreement, some players have chosen to opt out of the season. More could be thinking about doing the same.
If a player chooses to opt out of the season for medical reasons, he will get a salary of $350,000 and is still eligible for an accumulated NFL season. In case the player opts out voluntarily due to fears of the virus or feeling awkward with the situation, he will only receive $150,000. Nevertheless, that salary will be taken as an advance according to the existing deal, so the amount received will be deducted from future paychecks.
A Number Of NFL Players Opt Out
Some cases are like Kansas City Chiefs Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, he was the first one to opt out. Later, Baltimore Ravens De’Anthony Thomas, Seattle Seahawks Chance Warmack and Dallas Cowboys Maurice Canady were on the list of players who left the 2020 season.
After that, New England Patriots linemen Najee Toran and Marcus Cannon followed, with the most recent players opting out being other Pats players, running back Danny Vitale and safety Patrick Chung.
That’s just the start of the list. Players have until August 3 to decide whether or not they want to opt out of the season, and, so far, at least 14 NFL teams have at least one player who won’t be suiting up this season. As the deadline approaches, that number is going to climb significantly.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has done some hard work to keep fans motivated by sending confident messages in regard to the 2020 season. He sent a message to fans, stating, “COVID-19 will continue to present a major challenge to nearly every area of American life. Football is no exception.
Every step of the way, our focus has been on the safety of players, coaches, personnel, fans and our communities. Our planning has followed the lead of medical experts and public health officials, including the CDC, the White House Task Force, governors and state health officials.” Goodell is trying to keep the league alive and many jobs that could be at risk.
Training Camps Underway Amid COVID-19 Concerns
Training camps are beginning to open in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, the season has had a different format because of the virus, and all necessary efforts have been taken in order to ensure safety among players. For instance, teams have conducted virtual workouts, and the seven-round draft was done remotely.
Strict tests will be conducted as players come into training camps. They have to pass three tests before they can enter a team facility, per league requirements. After this, players have to comply with other regulations and become adapted to the demands of NFL or opt out.
The NFL stated, “Players will have an hour of weight room time and an hour of on-field conditioning practice from Aug. 3 to 11. Teams are also allowed to go through 60-minute walkthroughs during the first four days and 75-minute walkthroughs in the last four days.”
The NFL has implemented other rules, for instance, “Starting Aug. 12 through the 16, the first 90-minute practice can begin with 15-minute increases each day. In that period, teams will not be allowed to practice more than 120 minutes. Players can begin to wear helmets on Aug. 12 and 13 and helmets and shells Aug. 14 and 16.” Nevertheless, there will be no live contact until Aug. 17. All these policies must be followed seriously if we want to avoid more cases of coronavirus and to keep the 2020 season alive.