As explained two weeks ago, the NFL has developed a pandemic protocol that divides access to restricted areas into three tiers. Since the June 7 memo was distributed to all teams, the process of identify who lands in which tier has been a point of contention in some NFL cities.
Via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, “heated discussions” already have occurred within teams regarding the proper placement of each employee in the appropriate tier.
The memo from the Commissioner to all teams specifies that Tier 1 includes players, coaches, trainers, doctors, the strength/conditioning coach, and the head equipment manager, Tier 2 includes other non-playing personnel (like the General Manager, ownership representatives, football operations employees, etc.) who will be required to maintain physical distance from Tier 1 individuals or use Personal Protective Equipment, and Tier 3 includes persons who perform essential facility, stadium, or event services, but who do not require close contact with Tier 1 individuals.
Not long after word of the June 7 memo emerged in the media, the NFL Players Association informed its constituents that there has been no agreement with the league on any of these issues.
The time is drawing near for agreements and protocols and plans. The recent drip of dreary coronavirus news obscures the league’s high degree of optimism that the games will be played. Sooner than later, the league needs to develop the kind of details and project the kind of confidence that will make people realize and agree with the optimism.