A day after NFL owners issued a memo to all 32 teams giving dates for opening training camp during the coronavirus pandemic, a number of players took to social media Sunday morning with the union’s response.
Apparently, there’s more negotiating to be done.
Included in the stream of protest on Twitter was from cornerback Richard Sherman, the 49ers representative for the NFL Players Association.
The NFL has ignored the safety recommendations from the experts that THEY hired. We all love this game and want to go out and compete with our brothers. The NFL needs to provide a safe work environment for us to do that. #WeWantToPlay
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 19, 2020
“The NFL has ignored the safety recommendations from the safety experts that THEY hired,” Sherman tweeted. “We all love this game and we want to go out and tweet with our brothers. the NFL needs to prove a safety work environment for us to do that.”
Twitter was flooded with player response that echoed the same message and included the hashtag #WeWantToPLay.
At issue, according to an NFL Network report, are the number of exhibition games (the union wants zero, teams want two) as well as the rules for players who “opt out” of their contracts and don’t play as well as the frequency of testing for COVID-19.
Translating the #WeWantToPlay posts you’re seeing now: Joint medical committee recommended a 21-day acclimation period. NFL asked players to show up 2 weeks early to accomodate it; NFLPA said no. NFL shortened acclimation period to accommodate 2 preseason games. Union wants 0.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 19, 2020
General managers and head coaches received a memo from NFL executive vice president of operations Troy Vincent Saturday which announced rookies would report to camp on Tuesday, quarterbacks and injured players Thursday and all other players on July 28.
Center Rodney Hudson, the player rep for the Raiders, gave his rebuttal on Instagram and said his wife was “immunocompromised.”
“Not only is the NFL putting player safety at risk but our loved ones,” Hudson wrote. “My wife is immunocompromised and the NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of the experts will not only jeopardize the season but also players and their family’s lives as well. The NFL needs to adjust if we hope to play a full season.”
NFL player responses Saturday morning included Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, players union president J.C. Tretter and many others with a similar theme in messaging.
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) July 19, 2020
The coronavirus is unique, but the narratives we face as athletes are often recycled and undermine our leverage and power as players. We want to return to work, but we want to be safe, too: https://t.co/SOhGzKTzkX
— JC Tretter (@JCTretter) June 30, 2020
Other players who tweeted included:
— George Kittle (@gkittle46) July 19, 2020
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
You want to watch football this year? Us players need to remain healthy in order to make that happen. The NFL needs to do their part in order to bring football back safely in 2020. Please address health and safety concerns so we can play football this year. We want to play!
— Jared Goff (@JaredGoff16) July 19, 2020
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) 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
— DeForest Buckner (@DeForestBuckner) July 19, 2020
— Jalen Richard (@RocketRich30) July 19, 2020