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Millionaires versus Billionaires is always a bad look. It is becoming proof positive again when dealing with COVID health.
Fans didn’t like it when MLB players and owners took their fight public.
Or NBA Players tweeting about Disney resort rooms, calling them the Red Roof Inn.
Fans aren’t going to like NFL players heading to Twitter on Sunday in what appears to be an orchestrated effort.
This is not an individual frustrated or afraid. This is unrest by design.
Players claim the NFL has not addressed major health and safety issues, which is simply not true. There is, however, no question that it is a medical impossibility to keep players 100% safe. What I also know is that all 32 teams have submitted Infectious Disease Emergency Response plans, which are awaiting approval from the NFLPA and the typical plan is over 100 pages long.
Players are also now accusing the NFL of not listening to their own medical experts. The reality is that players did not listen to the recommendations of their own medical experts either. It was a joint panel of NFL and NFLPA physicians that recommended increased acclimation time given the absence of an in-person offseason program, but the union refused the owners request to report earlier for training camp to accommodate this. The argument could have been made that the players “owed” the days since they were not beholden to mandatory mini-camp or offseason workout. The union’s own medical expert implored players to cease working out together in the offseason but in one of several examples, the Buccaneer players led by Tom Brady continued to gather to practice.
I understand the desire for players — like Russell Wilson — to keep themselves and their families safe. Although there are no specific dangers identified with pregnancy and COVID, it is way too early to declare there are no medical worries and it is smart to stay safe. There is no question if Wilson wants to be as safe as possible, he should not play or he should keep himself quarantined from his family if he does. No NFL protocol can ever insure complete safety. However, all players need to realize the risk in society is greater than the risk inside the practice facilities or on game day. I don’t believe NFL players want to be in a bubble like the NBA but they need to do their part along with the league in order to have a successful season.
Have these players spoken to their team medical staff members?
That should be the first thing these players should do.
I know for a fact that team physicians and athletic trainers have spent hundreds of hours on CoronaVirus protocols. Perhaps the players would welcome the knowledge and be better equipped to understand the risk if they knew the work put in by those staffers. It would also be a way to get answers to their questions. Posting questions on Twitter certainly is not an effective way to get answers. If there are suggestions from team physicians that the league is not acting on, let’s hear about them and raise the specific issue.
The NFL is not without blame either. Its communication and education of players and coaches on simple issues of how the disease is transmitted has been lacking. Banning post game jersey exchanges is a silly rule that is more about optics and muddies the narrative.
This argument is not about COVID. It is about the preseason. The NFL wants two games to allow for “dress rehearsals” with the new protocols for all stadiums and the players don’t want to play in them since there is no extra pay to do so.
In the end, I feel the players and league are aligned and will play. With revenue sharing, loss of income to the owners translates to a lower salary cap and less overall player pay going into the future. Unlike other leagues there is a direct tie between both parties which means this season is happening. It is now a power play for how it happens.
A power play that should not unfold online.