The NFL Players Association announced that all preseason games in 2020 were cancelled, following reports that 95 players had tested positive for Covid-19.
The NFL has been in negotiations with the players’ union over coronavirus safety protocols, leading up to the start of league-wide training camp on July 28. Players took to Twitter using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay to express their concerns about the yet to be finalized agreement.
From the NFLPA’s website: 95 players across the league have tested positive for coronavirus and 8 teams have approved IDER plans, with 24 under review. pic.twitter.com/um3zINh5B5
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 21, 2020
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson wrote that his wife is pregnant, “And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety.”
I am concerned.
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
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) July 19, 2020
Houston superstar JJ Watt outlined several issues in his post, including mandatory training camp attendance, the full medically recommended training camp acclimation period, a fair opt out clause for at risk players, and a coronavirus testing protocol.
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
The organizations have come to an agreement on one of Watt’s points, a testing protocol for training camp has been finalized as of Monday.
Players will be required to pass two Covid-19 tests with a 72-hour self-quarantine in between, prior to being allowed entrance into the team facility. Teams have been mandated to test players daily during the first two weeks of training camp.
Another point of contention between players and the league was a reduction in preseason games. The NFLPA wanted to eliminate all preseason games this year, but the NFL pressed for a minimum of two, so each team would have a chance to test Covid-19 protocols at home.
On Monday, the NFL reversed its position and agreed to cancel preseason exhibitions, which will add extra days to camp and help appease the players’ demands for a longer training ramp-up period prior to the beginning of the season.