The NFL organized a video conference with team owners on Thursday to discuss, among other topics, the preparations for the 2020 season.
Those preparations, particularly the ones having to do with controlling the spread of COVID-19, have been a frequent topic of conversation this offseason. Coaches have wondered how football can be practiced and played amid protocols calling for social distancing and Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins raised other concerns on CNN Thursday.
Unlike the NBA, the NFL is not going to be locking players, coaches and others in a “bubble” while trying to play this year. Jenkins noted that increases interactions with people outside of teams and creates other considerations for those needed to make the season happen.
“We kinda end up being on this trust system. The honor system, where we just have to kind of hope that people are social distancing and things like that. And that puts all of us at risk,” Jenkins said. “Not only us as players and who’s in the building, but when you go home to your families. I have parents who I don’t want to get sick. Until we get to the point where we have protocols in place and until we get to a place as a country where we feel safe doing it, we have to understand that football is a nonessential business and so we don’t need to do it. So the risk, you know, has to be really eliminated before we, before I would feel comfortable with going back.”
The risk of contracting COVID-19 isn’t going to be completely eliminated by the time teams report to training camp next month and it’s likely to remain through the entire 2020 season comes to an end. That may cause some players to think twice about playing, but it hasn’t caused the league to veer from its plans to move forward with the season as scheduled.