Without an agreement between the Players Association and the league’s organizers, combined with the lack of protocols, the NFL is at risk of seeing its start being postponed.
NFL: WITH OR WITHOUT CROWD?
It seems, initially, slightly utopian that there is any discussion regarding the possibility of crowds being present at sporting events still in 2020.
The studies regarding a vaccine to make the population immune against COVID-19 seem to be shaping up and the United States bought a lot of samples from a private producer.
But the dates for the execution of such method still seem to be very distant and there isn’t a good perspective regarding large gatherings, at least in the short term. Still, the discussion about crowd in the NFL is taking place right now.
The NFL announced this week that they will demand that fans wear masks at the stadiums. According to some news in the United States, there is still a mystery regarding which teams will be able to host crowds at their stadiums, since the spread of the COVID-19 has been different on each region.
The disease increased on the country and news from the beginning of July said that 40 of the 50 states in the country saw increases on the numbers.
The New York Jets and the New York Giants have already announced that they won’t be opening their gates until further notice. The local governor limited gatherings to 500 people on closed environments without cover.
In total, an estimated number of 4 million people were infected by the disease so far in the United States.
PLAYERS ARE INFECTED AND SUPERSTARS DEMAND PROTOCOLS.
Everything is scheduled (so far) to start on September 10th. However, recent events have been putting the players and the league in
The NFL’s Players Association announced that a total of 95 people who were involved with the teams tested positive at some point during the pandemic.
From these 95, 59 were players and 36 were from the teams’ staff. The lack of clear and strict protocols has been annoying the players, who are blaming the organizers and are even putting the immediate start of the league at risk.
Several NFL superstars took to social media to demand clarity on the protocols. The hashtag #WeWantToPlay that was created shows the desire of the players who say they want to play but for that, they can’t be exposed to the disease.
Big-name players like Patrick Mahomes, Russel Wilson, Richard Sherman and JJ Watt protested.
“I’m worried. My wife is pregnant. The NFL’s training camp is about to start. And there still isn’t a clear plan regarding the health and safety of the players. We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones” – posted Russel Wilson on social media.
Michael Thomas, from the New Orleans Saints, made some harsh critics to the NFL commissioner: “If Adam Silver can respect the voices and protect the players in the NBA, why can’t the NFL commissioner do the same? Listen to the players”.
Tom Brady showed his support to the organizers and said that everyone needs safety and answers, but that everyone is on the same boat right now.
POLICIES ENFORCED BUT WITHOUT PRE-SEASON MATCHES
The pressure of the players seems to have had some effect. On the past Monday, the NFL announced some measures to be taken before and after the start of the competition.
Amongst them are the daily testing of players and staff during the 2 weeks of pre-season If any player tests positive but has no symptoms, he can return to the team’s installations after 10 days. But if he presents symptoms, he will be re-evaluated after that period and will
remain isolated depending on the result of the test.
A laboratory will make the tests and will always be able to hand out the daily tests 24 hours after they’re made.
A divergent point were the pre-season games. The Players Association didn’t want to allow matches before the start of the competition, and they wanted to extend the preparation period even more. That way, the start of the league would be postponed and would not start on
This week, they informed the players that there will be no pre-season matches and they are still negotiating with the league the option of the players being able to choose if they want to play or not, initially, in case they don’t feel safe, just like in the NBA.
The NFL had a long time to prepare, they saw the other leagues making their moves and they took too long to reach an agreement. Now there are several loose ends and the league is at risk of not starting on the scheduled date.
This was an awful handling of the situation and that can result on a postponement, or weakened teams, initially.