The NFL’s best players have spoken out.
Training camp is set to begin at the end of the month, but a lot of the players are concerned because the league has yet to address player health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Chiefs Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, New Orleans Saints signal-caller Drew Brees, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson were among the players to speak out on social media, and they ended their posts with “#WeWantToPlay.”
Here were some of the reactions from the players:
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and president JC Tretter addressed the union’s concerns in a 90-minute videoconference call with reporters on Friday.
They want players tested daily for the virus. A joint committee of doctors, trainers and strength coaches formed by the NFL and NFLPA recommended testing every other day.
Other outstanding issues include the number of preseason games. The league has planned to cut the exhibition schedule from four games to two while the union wants none.
Players also wanted a 45-day acclimation period to help avoid injuries. The league asked them to report early but the union declined. Questions remain on protections for players who want to opt out of playing.
All 32 teams have sent the union their Infectious Disease Emergency Response, which has been approved by joint infectious disease experts and NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills, according to a person familiar with the details. The person, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because protocols haven’t been finalized, said the union has approved several and continues to review them.
On Friday, the league sent players and teams an Education Protocol for camp, which requires clubs to distribute joint educational materials and to conduct educational sessions for players, staff and family members.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL has the right to impose report dates and teams can fine players who don’t report.
The NFLPA could file a grievance to argue the league isn’t providing a safe work environment under the labor deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.