The NFL and the NFL Players Association are still working on the terms of return. One of the points of discussion about whether or not players will receive financial backing if they decide to sit out the season.
Their request for financial security is meant to protect at-risk players from being exposed. Even if the player himself is not at-risk, they could be exposing a family member that is.
The clauses of this negotiation include:
- An opt-out clause for at-risk players to receive a salary (but not bonuses) if they decide not to play.
- An opt-out clause for players with at-risk families to earn an accrued season and benefits if they decide not to play.
- A $250,000 stipend guaranteed to all players if they show up to camp and everything is shut down because of COVID-19 concerns. That amount rises to $500,000 if the season starts, only to be shut down.
- An opt-out clause for players who leave the team after reporting (terms uncertain)
Another part of the discussion in this negotiation is who is actually considered “at-risk”. The NFL described in a memo some of the conditions that could make a player a high-risk athlete.
Some of the at-risk players are those with altered immunity, diabetes mellitus, cardiac disease and a BMI greater than 28.
Various athletes that have those or similar conditions might not feel safe returning to play.
Is this restart too rushed?
Sports are definitely one of the biggest forms of entertainment in the nation. It is also potentially the only source of income of many of these athletes. So there is a certain sense of the rush of trying to get it all back.
But the reality is that the coronavirus keeps spreading and rising unexpectedly in the United States. Other leagues have started their season, and have been successful for the most part.
The problem is that building a restart plan that ensures the safety of everyone in football is a little harder than for other sports.
Outside linebacker Sam Acho explains that even with a reduced roster, players will still come into contact many times.
(Retrieved from: ABCNewscall)
The success of other leagues has set high hopes for an NFL restart. But as Acho explains, the NFL should not base its plan according to the other leagues. They should be trying to create a plan that fits current circumstances and prepares staff, players, and fans for a possible postponing.
“A lot of Americans want to watch football. So there’s this mindset of ‘we are going to find a way to fit the coronavirus into our football schedule.’ I think that message should be flipped. I think we should be trying to fit our football schedule into the confines of the coronavirus.” said Acho