The National Football Player’s Association is continuing to negotiate terms for a return to work, and players are requesting financial backing in the event that they opt out and sit out the upcoming season due to COVID-19 concerns, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Per the report, some of the player’s requests include:
- An opt-out clause for at-risk players to receive 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.
- An opt-out clause for players who leave the team after reporting (terms uncertain).
- 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.
There is an ongoing effort to define “at risk”, and the necessary procedures for applying for medical opt-outs, which is being discussed.
Should a player be suspended and they opt out of the season, their suspended games will not carry over to the following season.
The report goes on to highlight the league’s memo, sent out on June 7th, that listed the following as considerations for high-risk individuals:
- African American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander
- BMI ≥ 28
- Sleep apnea
- Altered immunity
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cardiac disease
There is a lot of work to do as players want everyday testing and no preseason games, while the NFL wants testing every other day and two preseason games.
Players are also seeking a lengthy acclimation period prior to beginning full practices, when they do return to training camp, to avoid injuries and get comfortable in the drastically different working environment and circumstances.
The two sides are also trying to work out whether trimming the 90-man training camp rosters in an effort to avoid unnecessary contact is the right move, while the league is trying to get players on board with a new protective face shield, produced by Oakley, that was recently unveiled.
While there are some details to iron out, both sides want a training camp and want to play, so there is confidence in these talks.
The NFL wants to ensure that they get 16 NFL games on television, and according to a source cited in the report “Get the 16 games on TV,” a source told ESPN. “That’s the main goal.”
It is likely that games will be broadcasted on both television and through other outlets, such as Youtube or Twitch channels for example, especially considering that their deal with Twitch made streamer news headlines back in 2019 and helped increase fan engagement on a new platform for the league.