The NFL sent a memo to teams this weekend announcing start dates for 2020 training camp. The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans have quarterbacks and rookies scheduled to report on Monday, while the rest of the league can start having players report on Tuesday.
This is happening even as the owners and players have not finalized health and safety protocols for practicing and playing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The collective bargaining agreement allows for the owners to impose a reporting deadline, but it leaves open a host of other topics. For the time being, that includes testing protocols, quarantine requirements for positive tests or players exposed, and opt-out language for high risk players and those with high risk family members. Additionally, no team has submitted an infectious disease emergency response plan that is required.
Players have been pushing back on the owners’ lack of movement, but on Sunday, we saw a high profile coordinated push. High profile players like J.J. Watt, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson were among a group of players tweeting their concerns with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay.
The owners can impost a report date, but if players feel the situation is unsafe — particularly if there is a violation of the March deal — they can file a grievance. These tweets indicate players would take that as a serious option.
Once again in the interest of keeping everyone (players & fans) as informed as possible, here is an updated list of what we as players know and don’t know as the first group gets set to report to training camp tomorrow.#WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/xQcjs33zgM— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 19, 2020
I am concerned.— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) July 19, 2020
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. #WeWantToPlay
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. 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— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) July 19, 2020
The NFL continues to ignore major health and safety concerns putting the 2020 season in jeopardy. America wants to watch football and we want to play. Make the necessary changes @nflcommish #WeWantToPlay— Byron Jones (@Byron31Jump) July 19, 2020
Crazy to see how the NFL is not following the recommendations of its own experts regarding health and safety for Us as players! As of today questions have not been answered and we want to play football. Y’all want to watch football this year?#WeWantToPlay— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) July 19, 2020
If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. #WeWantToPlay— Myles Garrett ⚡️ (@MylesLGarrett) July 19, 2020
It blows my mind that the NFL is unwilling to follow the recommendations of their own experts regarding player health and safety. If we want to have a FULL season this year we need the NFL to listen to their experts! #WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/q55RpqRzPu— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) July 19, 2020