NFL must make clear, strong statement regarding importance of players staying at home

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The past two days have included troubling images of high-profile NFL quarterbacks showing no regard for federal guidelines and state mandates to stay at home and to practice social distancing. On Wednesday, it was Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. On Thursday, it was Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

On Friday, it needs to be Commissioner Roger Goodell issuing a clear and strong statement requiring players to comply. And the statement include a video from Goodell, posted on the NFL’s social-media platforms and its websites and played on a periodic basis on the NFL’s TV network urging all team and league employees to do what is required in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Goodell has issued two statements since the world was turned upside down by the pandemic. The first was a CBA ratification victory lap on March 15. The second came four days later, with a two-paragraph acknowledgement of the news that Saints coach Sean Payton had tested positive for the virus.

The time has come for a statement from Goodell not simply urging players but ordering them to follow the laws of the states and communities where they reside and to adhere to federal guidelines regarding social distancing. It can be short, it can be simple, and it can be powerful.

For example: “Hi. This is Roger Goodell. We currently live in serious and uncertain times, which are creating very real hardships for millions of Americans. The National Football League and its teams are committed to sharing the obligation to do whatever is necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus. This includes all league and team employees staying at home where required and at all times staying more than six feet away from others. Now isn’t the time for football players to be on a football field, and we expect all NFL players to set an example regarding the proper and responsible methods for getting exercise and staying in shape, no matter what sport you play.”

The video message should be supplemented with a written warning to all players that violations of state and local stay at home orders will subject them to discipline under the Personal Conduct Policy.

Over the years, the NFL has punished players for behavior far less dangerous than activities that will tend to facilitate the spread a virus that attacks the populace like a game of Russian roulette. The stay at home orders have been imposed to slam the brakes on the spread of the virus, and the NFL and its players are not above these requirements.

Unfortunately, the images that have emerged in recent days suggest that some players believe they are. It’s time for the Commissioner to dispel everyone of that notion.

46 responses to “NFL must make clear, strong statement regarding importance of players staying at home

  1. Goodell is delusional acting like the 2020 season is just going to go on like normal…

  2. I don`t think it`s the NFL`s job to babysit players, They should be following the rules just like the rest of us without be told by the NFL what to do.

  3. “The past two days have included troubling images of high-profile NFL quarterbacks showing no regard for federal guidelines and state mandates to stay at home and to practice social distancing.”


    The past few weeks have included troubling images of a whole lot of Americans NOT in the NFL showing no regard for federal guidelines and state mandates to stay at home and practice social distancing.

    I do not think the burden really lies on employers. I think the burden lies on people. All people. If this is as bad as they say it could be, then I am confident these vile offenders of yours will have a problem “with optics” when it is all said and done. Society has a tendency to remember. For a while anyway.

  4. As an employer it is not my responsibility to tell my employees what to do while they are furloughed at home nor is it their responsibility to listen to me if I do.

    These are adults.

  5. The NFL could and should be giving out fines for players found blatantly disregarding the rules. At least in MN it’s a state law that can be up to 90 days in jail or $1,000 fine for a willful violation.

  6. One of these young “indestructible” idiots will get really sick, infect a number of his teammates, who take it home to their families. A la Rudy Gobert.

    Would you want him on your team?

  7. My Plant has strict guidelines, social distaining = 6+ ft from everyone, no training, no team meetings, conference rooms shut down, half of the cafeteria chairs removed and tables spread out to 12 ft spacing and hand wash stations at every door, employees assigned entrances and bathrooms based on what section of the plant they work in… Those are just a few of what we are doing…Trying to help stop this virus and to help EACH OTHER SO WE DON”T HURT EACH OTHER>….

    Now look at the what the multimillionaires are doing…. dam fools..

    Follow the guidelines and stay home… nimrods…

  8. Case closed. I always thought the players weren’t adults. The 32 organizations are not a daycare and should be more careful about who they put on the payroll.

  9. Like it or not, NFL players are role models and should be held to a higher standard, especially the top players. People are impressionable whether they admit it or not and when they see their heroes, stars or anyone they look up to, they tend to mimic their behavior. So I have no problem with the NFL reminding their players to use their heads for something other than hat racks.

  10. throw them into the gulag and confiscate their property. Put their family on trial for the world to see. Publicly execute them. This nonsense must stop right friggin NOW!!

  11. The players are what.. living on Mars and haven’t heard about the Virus. Or is it that they are really all only 12 years old and need to be told over and over again. Or just punished like children. This is pure elitism. The rules don’t apply to them. Look a A-Rod and J-Lo working out at the gym that closed to everyone with pandemic signs posted on the door they used to enter the place. To blame it on Godell is what people do now that don’t care what they do only what you do. Shameful.

  12. I am actually beginning to agree that 2020 isnt going to happen. Think about it. We are not going to have a vaccine in time. And even if we do have a vaccine, how long will it take to administer a vaccine to 350 million people?

    So are they going to play the season with no fans in the stands? Not likely. There is no way that we will be able to have any mass gatherings, like sporting events, concerts, car shows, you name it, anytime in the 2020 calendar year. I am no expert, but I just cant see how that will be possible. It really sucks.

  13. There’s not going to be season. No way things get back to normal this year. Maybe 2021.

  14. we all know the NFL leaders and player play by their own rules…what did you expect?

  15. I agree with Florio. NFL players act as role models to many segments of society. Young men, especially young African-American men who engage in already risky lifestyle, are vulnerable if there is an outbreak in there community. NFL players must set a higher standard and the leadership of the league must mandate that they do so.

  16. If the NFL really cared about setting an example they’d stop construction on those stadiums in LA and LV

  17. We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic – I’m not sure how it’s possible for players not to know the rules, and why they would need to be handheld by their employers

  18. Mike Basca. Charlie Behan. Keith Berlem. Al Blozis.

    Recognize any of those names? Probably not. You would not be expected to. These men are among the approximately 2 dozen NFL players who gave their lives when they answered the call of their country during World War II to make the world a safer place. Over 400,000 Americans died in that war, most of them in their mid to late 20s.

    Today we ask young people to adhere to a few simple guidelines to help save the lives of the children and grandchildren of those who served and perhaps died in that war. But for some it is apparently too much to expect, a short disruption to their lives to help others too much of a sacrifice. Let the old people sacrifice.

    Lamar Jackson. Dak Prescott. Antonio Brown. Dez Bryant. These men are among the thousands of people who seem unwilling to answer the call of their country to make the world a safer place. It is indeed a new world we live in.

  19. These are grown men. If they are too stupid to stay home and away from other people then that’s on them.

  20. I don’t know about Dak’s situation but Lamar was working out before Florida’s stay at home guidelines were in effect. You are suggesting here they violated the stay at home orders. If you’re going to point fingers maybe you should be accurate.

  21. I agree with the sentiment….I wont even walk across the street to visit my 73 year old mom at this point (unless there was an emergency of course).

    But is Goodell going to actually start having players fined/suspended for not following the rules of the states that they reside in?

    Good luck with that when the smoke finally (hopefully) clears.

  22. Goodell works for the owners. Period. As a group (there may be individual exceptions), the owners believe that they are bigger than any public health threat. Thus the firm conviction that the season will start on time. You can bet that the owners have covered themselves six ways to Sunday with insurance. In their view, they will win no matter how this plays out.

  23. If NFL players are role models for any young boy & girls for anything outside of sports – then they are already in trouble. It is the parents responsibility to raise their kids right.

  24. For argument sake, what if Brady or another well known player got it? What would be their reaction? Probably no change in their behavior. What if they were fined or suspended? They would probably run to the union to protest it.

  25. Yes, they are role models. Role models of what NOT to do. Let’s face it, we pretty much all learn more from mistakes than from things we do correctly. Consider these clowns a PSA for what not to do. Again, no one ever said these guys were rocket scientists. They’re football players who apparently haven’t heard that social distancing is good for the people in the picture as well as society at large. But I’ve seen plenty of stupid neighbors to know that the guys in the picture aren’t the only idiots.

  26. Brobokil says:
    April 3, 2020 at 11:42 am

    The NFL could and should be giving out fines for players found blatantly disregarding the rules. At least in MN it’s a state law that can be up to 90 days in jail or $1,000 fine for a willful violation.

    ////////////////

    So let them get jailed and fined by their local governments. We still have a functioning legal system in this country, even now. It is not the role of the NFL to act instead.

  27. Stop the insanity already.. Has anyone taken the time to actually drive up to these “hot spot” Hospitals that the MSM is going crazy over in NYC? I have and curiously, there is NOBODY waiting; like has bee presented, why is that? These are grown men, I am sure they have taken the necessary precautions, this is their lively hood, what are they supposed to do, not work out? This is still America, land of the brave and home of the free, quit spreading mass hysteria..

  28. Florio and the PFT staff have the financial means to wait this out…so following federal guidelines are a piece of cake…

    Something tells me if all these privileged individuals who have the audacity to lecture others stood to lose their homes, automobiles, businesses over this crap…they wouldn’t just sit back and watch their livelihoods crumble either…

  29. The only thing…and I get it Mike, but EVERYONE hating on these players need to realize that depending what state and even municipality they reside in the rules are different. If you are in NY City, guess what? You’re going nowhere. In rural areas of NY you are already distanced and secluded until you go to the grocery store. And meetings of 10 are still allowed in some places. Anyway, you don’t know where these guys are meeting up. They may be within a “10 or less law” area. Which they were all under 10 in the pictures. So whatever your opinion or whatever you may think, these guys COULD BE (it’s possible) complying with the law and to say otherwise would be a disservice to them and display of ignorance for you. (Whether you like that or not is a different matter. I just hate to say that they were disregarding state mandate when they may not have been.)

  30. my_old_name_was_offensive says:
    April 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm
    Florio and the PFT staff have the financial means to wait this out…so following federal guidelines are a piece of cake…

    Something tells me if all these privileged individuals who have the audacity to lecture others stood to lose their homes, automobiles, businesses over this crap…they wouldn’t just sit back and watch their livelihoods crumble either…
    _____________________________________________
    Yeah, See it’s tough because I support doing what we can for each other…but when Million and Billionaires are upset about people not following guidelines…I cringe. Where are your complaints when other more important laws are being broken? I wish PFT would stick to PFT. If they want to go politics, head to Washington and have at it…but when people here who’s pockets are well insulated are getting frustrated with people just trying to provide their families and have to go out and about it comes across as pompous, petty, and ignorant. Try see things from a perspective of someone that has two degrees and still only makes 50k per year. Seems like many here have been isolated and six “stories” away from others for much longer than when this pandemic started.

  31. 90% of these people that refuse to stay home are under 30 years old. They act like staying home, spending all day on social media and watching TV is something new to them.

  32. thesnakestabler says:
    April 3, 2020 at 6:21 pm
    Stop the insanity already.. Has anyone taken the time to actually drive up to these “hot spot” Hospitals that the MSM is going crazy over in NYC? I have and curiously, there is NOBODY waiting; like has bee presented, why is that? These are grown men, I am sure they have taken the necessary precautions, this is their lively hood, what are they supposed to do, not work out? This is still America, land of the brave and home of the free, quit spreading mass hysteria..
    ———————————————————————-

    Just stop… You look foolish. You didn’t drive to any “hot spot”. They have transported almost 50 COVID Patients from NYC upstate where I live. I know someone that died in Florida Weds after being turned away by two hospitals.

    You are obviously clueless about which you try to speak. How about you go do something PRODUCTIVE instead of wasting your (And everyone’s time) posting nonsense. You people that are all bent out of shape because your sports were “Taken away” need to get a grip.

  33. They need to re-open the clubs so these guys have something to do with all their free time.

  34. I thought Roger Goodell being heavy handed and authoritarian was bad, who knew?

  35. I would rather see Goodell make a statement that says that the NFL supports the efforts to fight this outbreak, and then ASKS his players to help by following the rules we all need to for now.

  36. Florio you of all people should know a big part of the shut down is due to our litigious society. 5 guys getting together to play catch is not a big deal. Maybe bone up on the guidelines and purpose of social distancing. Get real man.

  37. AT the start of March – 34 days ago – there were around 70 known cases of Covid 19 in the entire country. Very limited testing probably caused a significant undercount.
    As of today there are over 275,000 know cases in the USA. Probably still an undercount to some extent.
    Let those numbers sink in.

    Most of these cases were undoubtedly passed on by undiagnosed, apparently healthy people.

  38. What makes you think is the prediction over 100,000 Americans will die from this virus. We have over 6,000 deaths right now. This is with social distancing in place. It’s already grave and the more idiots who think they’re immune make the spread grow much faster.

    My little hometown of Kingsford got hit with a fatal case yesterday. It’s far reaching and unknowable how it got to an 85-year-old living in a small community. But, it’s that devastating and indiscriminate. Even if you don’t get sick from it, you can pass it on to others.

    NFL just needs to get in front of it, because fans might also comply. It’s not just about safety of players but how their actions are perceived by public. Take this pandemic seriously. If not for you, then a loved one, friend or neighbor.

  39. When this is over…….there are going to be a lot of people wanting to know why we risked destroying the economy of this country in addition to shutting down the sports world, over a statistically insignificant disease that will prove to be along the same lines as the H1N pandemic..

  40. The fact is, an adult in today’s society is as hard to define as a catch in the NFL.

  41. At this point we might as well shut down the 2020 season

    Can we shut down Goodell too?

  42. 41 states have issued stay-at-home orders. Of the 9 that have not, certain counties within those states have. Of course, the restrictions vary by region and severity of the outbreak, but people need to take this pandemic seriously, because it’s not going away any time soon.

    Reported infections and deaths appear to be doubling on a regular basis. However, the number of reported infections is misleading, because of the lack of widespread testing. We really have no idea how many people are infected with coronavirus but are asymptomatic at this time, and thus are unknowing carriers infecting untold numbers of others.

    This strain of coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, is highly contagious and extremely widespread. In some, it might not develop into the disease, COVID-19, but in many it will. And the disease is deadly. There is no cure, no medicine, only treatments, and an effective vaccine is many months away. A lot of people are going to die, potentially hundreds of thousands, before we get this thing under control.

    The death toll itself is horrific, but almost as worrisome is the economic damage caused the shutdown. Most of these stay-at-home orders are in effect through June, and may be extended for several more months. Millions of people are losing their jobs and do not have the means to support themselves, pay their bills, because there aren’t any jobs available for them to earn income.

    Businesses are closing. Many will not reopen. We’re heading into a deep recession that will make the 2008 financial crises look like the common cold. So who is going to have any money to waste on a football game in September?

    No one. Even if the economy begins to turn around by then, it will be a long, slow recovery. Most people are going to be scrambling to return to work, pay their overdue bills, save their businesses and homes. This is the grim reality.

    The economy is not going to bounce back overnight. It’s not like one morning we’re all going to wake up to sunshine and roses, birds singing, unicorns dancing under rainbows, cheering fans flocking to stadiums, just in time to save the football season. That is not going to happen. Return to normalcy is in the far distant future.

    But let’s imagine the rosy scenario. Suppose hundreds of thousands of cheering fans fill stadiums on opening weekend. Then they go home and test positive for coronavirus before the next game. What then? Stadiums as petri dishes for the spread of a deadly virus. Do you really think the NFL wants to be even remotely associated with anything like that publicity?

    There isn’t going to be a 2020 season. Under any scenario, it would be a disaster. What the NFL should do is start making plans for the 2021 season.

  43. Last time I checked the government doesn’t have the authority to do what they’re trying to do but we see that all the time, at least until someone with deep enough pockets fights back!

    Thousand of businesses are going to go bankrupt over this and it’ll start another recession, BANK IT!

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