NFLPA president JC Tretter: The NFL “believes the virus will bend to football”

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As the NFL and NFL Players Association continue to haggle over the protocols for football practice and games in a pandemic, NFLPA president JC Tretter is warning his constituents that the league’s preferred approach could spell doom for everyone.

“Our normal return date for training camp is quickly approaching and we are still far from back to ‘normal,'” Tretter writes in an item posted at the NFLPA website. “Our main concern is player safety, both in regard to preventing the virus’ transmission as well as preventing injuries after an extended and historically unique layoff. Like many other industries, football’s resistance to change is based on the belief that the best way to run things is the way we’ve always run things. That pervasive thought process will stop this season in its tracks.”

Tretter points out that players don’t want to simply return to work, they want to stay at work. Part of the concern is the possibility of increased injuries due to the lack of an offseason programs. After the 2011 lockout, which wiped out the offseason program that year, Tretter says injuries increased by 25 percent.

His broader concern relates to the pandemic. Tretter says that the league accepted the initial recommendations of a joint committee of doctors, trainers, and strength coaches, such as no joint practices and no fans at training camp. Tretter writes that the league is unwilling to follow the committee’s recommendation of a 48-day training camp, and that “the NFL is unwilling to prioritize player safety and believes that the virus will bend to football.”

Tretter emphasizes the union’s position that there should be no preseason games, noting that the league has been unable to articulate a medical reason to play “games that don’t count in the standings.” Tretter notes, however, that the league’s preference for two preseason games come from a desire to evaluate rotes and to test game-day virus protocols.

“We don’t want to merely return to work and have the season shut down before we even get started,” Tretter writes. “The NFLPA will do its part to advocate for player safety. We will continue to hold the NFL accountable and demand that the league use data, science and the recommendations of its own medical experts to make decisions. It has been clear for months that we need to find a way to fit football inside the world of coronavirus. Making decisions outside that lens is both dangerous and irresponsible.”

Tretter makes a good point. Even if players will choose to play despite any recommendation by the union to skip the season, the season quickly will implode if the league can’t keep the number of positive cases to a range that won’t leave teams without enough players and the league without enough teams.

42 responses to “NFLPA president JC Tretter: The NFL “believes the virus will bend to football”

  1. Forget a team sport where everyone touches everyone else! Let’s just have each team pick like 5 players to represent different weight classes and have them fight UFC gladiator style. Each week a different champion can fight for their team rotate through those guys.

  2. Just a disgusting display of greed and delusion by Goodell
    and the owners thinking they are above science, truth and fact like Trump.

    This proves how childish and how the owners don’t care how
    something looks when it blocks money, including being caught cheating and framing the Pats. They simply want it, jealous of Kraft, so they
    just do it, as inferior afc franchises get away with murder like the Ravens numerous communications scandals that go unpunished.

  3. First, I think JC Tretter is a high quality individual and a fine NFLPA president.

    I don’t agree that zero preseason games will help players, teams, and the season to be played in full. Zero preseason games will not only affect the quality of play once the season starts, it will actually increase injuries. JC implied that no offseason programs will add to injuries. So how is having zero pre season games going to lessen in season injuries then?

  4. What a world we live in — the two biggest stories heading into the NFL season are a virus and a team changing its name. Beam me up Scottie.

  5. Deaths are down 75% on more cases due to the weakening mutations, just like SARS and MERS.

    Remdesvir has been approved and will be in triple shift manufacturing and should be available for mild cases by September. It stops the virus in its tracks, preventing it from replicating and making the disease worse than when medication began. it is only used for severe case right now.

    The virus is going to be almost gone by September. So, maybe not “for the NFL”, but it will be nothing more than the flu by then.

  6. A MLS Soccer team just withdrew from the season because the entire team and the coach have covid, the nfl will have the same issue, the league is becoming a joke right before our eyes.

  7. Start the season November 1st scale back the games if needed and schedule games in warmer climates and domes through January & February.

  8. “[T]he league has been unable to articulate a medical reason to play ‘games that don’t count in the standings.’”

    The league isn’t able to articulate “injury prevention?”

  9. How is this a an extended and historically unique layoff???? They have by far the shortest season of any sport (and longest offseason)…especially when your consistently missing the playoffs bc your on a crappy browns team…. not to mention league minimum salary is like 500k???? I think that’s enough to hire a personal trainer if your worried about getting injured….boy does this make football players seem like big Sally’s.

  10. He wants the league to use “ science “?? The league they didn’t even understand seventh grade science ? The league that didn’t understand that cold weather causes football to lose pressure , that league ???? Now that’s a joke.

  11. The NFL will keep talking about playing this season, until one day……they will stop and the season won’t happen.

    End the drip, drip , drip and just cancel the season already.

  12. touchback6 says:
    July 7, 2020 at 11:19 am
    Just a disgusting display of greed and delusion by Goodell
    and the owners thinking they are above science, truth and fact like Trump.
    =====================
    Liberals simply dont have it in them to not be the same petty, childish, morons they accuse Trump of being. You made a point, it was a good one. But you couldnt stop there. You still had to take a shot at Trump. Blows my mind. The behavior is exactly the same, just a different message / version of “truth”

  13. Both the NBA and MLS can’t manage the virus and both are working in a “bubble environment” for protection. The NHL has rising cases from just six man practices and have yet to go into their “bubbles” for the playoffs. Golf is an outdoor sport with social distancing built in and they have had 7 positives between players and caddies. The virus is causing huge numbers of positives in NCAA football and they’ve only opened practice facilities for informal workouts and have not had a real camp yet. Clemson had 30 players test positive, Texas had 23, others have had a few to dozens, and entire NCAA leagues are cancelling the season.

    Do the letters “NFL” mean the virus stops here and they will not be affected? All it will take is one team to say they can’t field an effective team and any season that continues will always have that asterisk beside the survivor (Super Bowl winner) to acknowledge the carnage left behind.

  14. With the Coronavirus raging in 40 states, the NFL has 2 choices. Cancel the season or play. If a person gets infected, currently 15% of those people will need to be hospitalized. So, out of the 1,750 players on rosters for the entire league, that works out to 115.2 players will need hospitalization, that’s 4 players per team, hospitalized. Then you will have the other players and staff that get it as well. Their cases will be from severe to mild, but they will get it. Now, I love football, but if these numbers are true, what kind of season will this be?

  15. “Part of the concern is the possibility of increased injuries due to the lack of an offseason programs.”
    — Well Tretter, how about having your players take ownership of their own health and PREPARE themselves for the upcoming season, instead of depending on the team to get you back in shape??

    “Like many other industries, football’s resistance to change is based on the belief that the best way to run things is the way we’ve always run things.”
    — NONSENSE. The league has already demonstrated it has no problem with massive changes to procedures (ie ENTIRE 2020 drafting process) due to pandemic. Just because they don’t agree with your OPINION, doesn’t mean they’re resistant to change.

    “league has been unable to articulate a medical reason to play “games that don’t count in the standings.””
    — Again, NONSENSE. Coaches uses these games to evaluate roster depth. Players use it to gradually get up to gamespeed. IF you’re really concerned about player safety, you DON’T want to throw players into Week 1 playing 60 minutes at full speed.

    “demand that the league use data, science and the recommendations of its own medical experts to make decisions”
    — Medical experts don’t care whether training camp is 48-days or 8-days. It doesn’t matter to them, as long as health protocol is followed every day. NICE TRY.

  16. There will be no football unless the crazy people believe in masks. There will a big outbreak amongst the teams unless the whole organization from the players and their wives and those involved in the provision of food, cleaning, medical treatment decide to pick a location (isolate for 14 days before they report), get a test and stay in that location without having outsiders bringing the virus in. Otherwise it will be a foregone conclusion that there will somebody with it and it is impossible to stop transmission in a contact sport with heavy breathing and sweating.

  17. “The virus is going to be almost gone by September.”

    Are you delusional? Covid is exploding in places all over the country. We’re over 130k dead. We have a president who has surrendered to the virus and told people in the last couple days “learn to live with it” and who has ignored and refused all science based response.

    We are the only country in the world where basic sanitation that has been show to stop or slow the spread of disease for hundreds of years is being debated and called a Democratic lie.

    There will most likely be a 2nd, much larger lockdown thanks to Trump’s incompetence

  18. pauldeba says:
    July 7, 2020 at 11:30 am

    The virus is going to be almost gone by September.
    —————————————————————–

    By stating this you are either delusional or ridiculously optimistic.

    The virus will NOT be ‘almost gone by September’. You can take that to the bank.
    The lack of an effective federal response right from the beginning has basically guaranteed that.

    I am a lifelong football fan and would love to see the NFL play this year. The nature of the sport makes it the LEAST likely sport to be played in the fall.

  19. This isn’t a uniquely NFL problem, it is a USA problem. Too many people making bad decisions, starting at the top.

  20. Lots of fear up in here. Go and hide in your house everyone. BTW- 11 straight weeks deaths have declined.

  21. “Are you delusional? Covid is exploding in places all over the country. We’re over 130k dead.”

    Yes, and it is under 3,600 per week now with more confirmed cases as opposed to 14,000 in mid-April. The virus is mutating and weakening.

    And you obviously haven’t reviewed the results of Remdesivir, either, it prevents replication of the virus, so as soon as it is taken it practically stops the disease in its tracks. So, you can believe science or you can believe the hysterical media.

    There will be an NFL season. There will be no second wave.

    “If a person gets infected, currently 15% of those people will need to be hospitalized. So, out of the 1,750 players on rosters for the entire league, that works out to 115.2 players will need hospitalization”

    So, every NFL player will get it? and I guess we assume the NFL has about 20% of their players over 65 years of age? How about 10% get it and 1% get hospitalized for that age group – so 175 get it and 2 get hospitalized, not 4 per team.

  22. With the Coronavirus raging currently, and hitting record highs for new infections per day, some idiot said: It will just magically go away. Or you can inject disinfectants into the body and maybe kill it. Or you can shine a light into the body, you know a very bright light into the body and kill it. If you care about America and the economy, much less American lives, then wear the damn mask and social distance. Otherwise we will be up to 100,000 new infections a day and there will be no economy and damn sure no football of any kind. Science, truth, facts they all matter. Ignorance, stupidity, lies they all destroy. So join team America and lets go for the big win and save our economy and sports.

  23. stubborndata says:
    July 7, 2020 at 11:52 am
    The height of arrogance. The USA is an embarassment.
    ——————–
    Yep…65% of Americans are obese!! It is the fattest, most unfit country in the world! Shocker….we just might have the most cases, unless China would tell the truth! Gee, I wonder why……that real talk might offend fat people though so we can’t have that conversation.

  24. “Yes, and it is under 3,600 per week now with more confirmed cases as opposed to 14,000 in mid-April.”

    So you’re just fine with 3600 people Americans killed by covid every week then? Pretty sickening that you’re so cavalier with the lives of thousands of people at a time.

    “And you obviously haven’t reviewed the results of Remdesivir, either, it prevents replication of the virus, so as soon as it is taken it practically stops the disease in its tracks.”

    It improves a hospitalized patient’s recovery time from 15 to 11 days if they’re going to recover in the first place. It hardly “stops it in its tracks”. If it did covid would be over.

    There is also a cheap, commonly available steroid that is helping, but if that was a universal cure that too be the end of any covid problems. There’s a long way to go yet

    “So, every NFL player will get it? and I guess we assume the NFL has about 20% of their players over 65 years of age? How about 10% get it and 1% get hospitalized for that age group – so 175 get it and 2 get hospitalized, not 4 per team.”

    Good luck with that. You’re over optimistically guessing for what you consider a good result when the college teams who started practicing are all shutting back down, the other major league sports also having problems.

    You are also assuming simply because they are young and relatively healthy that no NFL player will be killed by covid. That doesn’t take into account any of them with diabetes.

    Also doesn’t take into account the first risk factor I see mentioned over and over again is obesity. A lot of Olinemen and Dlinemen are obese. They may have a lot of muscle under the fat but the fat is there too.

    You seem fine with America continuing to needlessly have thousands of people die every week as long as you get your NFL games to watch though. I suppose some NFL players getting killed by covid won’t bother you in the slightest.

    And also, many of those hospitalized will have lifetime breathing problems. I’ve seen images of a patient’s lungs who died from covid next to one of someone who was killed by lung cancer. The covid ones looked as bad or worse as the lung cancer ones.

    How many of those hospitalized NFL players are you will to give breathing problems for life to just so you can watch the games?

  25. pauldeba says:
    July 7, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    There will be an NFL season. There will be no second wave.
    ————————————————————–
    This type of ‘thinking’ is exactly why the US has the most infections and deaths in the world. We have 4% of the world’s population and 25% of the deaths from this virus. Anyone claiming that is ‘success’ is not facing facts.

    Also, focusing on death alone misses the fact that nearly 20% of those infected are hospitalized and a large number of those will have lingering health impacts. Some people’s lungs have been permanently damaged. Even if the NFL tries to play there will be players who opt out, like what is happening in the other (less contact) sports.

    It is precisely because people are not taking this seriously that the virus is raging the US. Ignoring reality does not change it.

    Remdesivir has been proven to reduce the duration of infection in severely ill patients, but it does not ‘stop the drug in its tracks’ as you claim. It also has not yet been approved by the FDA – more studies are underway.

    IF you don’t believe me, read this letter from the Daniel ‘O’Day, the CEO of Gilead, the creator of the drug, in the link below. Maybe you will believe him.

    https://www.gilead.com/news-and-press/press-room/press-releases/2020/6/an-open-letter-from-daniel-oday-chairman–ceo-gilead-sciences

  26. And in an addendum to my previous response. These are the current COVID-19 numbers in the US. 3,005,840 infections up 73,793 and current Deaths 132,573 up 566.Remember boys and girls, the CDC said that for every reported case there are probably 10 unreported cases, so you can take the 3,005,840 and multiply it by 10, that’s 30,058,400 infections in the US. If we get to 100,000 reported per day, that’s a million per day sports fans. So, be a patriot and lets fight this battle together and win! Wear the damn mask! And do the social distancing!

  27. In reply to covid 19 above…
    And if someone could pass that message to your president, the rest of the world would also be extremely grateful!

  28. Funny my state didn’t have a major problem until the protests started last month but yes let’s continue blaming conservatives and not wearing masks. Cute.

  29. Over 130,000 Americans have died. The real number is likely more than 230,000 at this point.

    But that is not the whole story. Many thousands of people are still hospitalized with all kinds of organ damage. Many that have already “recovered” have damaged lungs, kidneys and livers. That damage will likely per permanent. And even people as young as 20 have organ damage

    Be smart. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. We cann beat this scourge, but only if we all work together. The alternative is a United States in agony for years to come.

  30. For every Brees and Rodgers who don’t need a preseason, there are scores of players who do. For many, it’s the only way to make a team. Fourth round picks like Tretter was originally will be fine, even if they don’t deserve to make the team.

  31. The group that balks at the idea of mandatory face shields for players is accusing the league of being resistant to change?

    Personally, I dislike the whole lot of them more now than ever.

  32. pauldeba says:
    July 7, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    There will be an NFL season. There will be no second wave.

    ============

    Yes, because at this rate we’ll never actually get out of the first wave. Which we are still very much in.

  33. The NFL should have scheduled each team’s first 4 games against the opposite conference. That way IF there were issues they could start later against their own conference. Though I don’t believe we will see a Super Bowl at the end of this season.

  34. pauldeba says:
    July 7, 2020 at 11:30 am

    The virus is going to be almost gone by September.
    —————————————————-

    The virus is just getting started, we are in the top o the first inning!

  35. To JH8208 Sorry but you can’t foist Trump on me, he’s not my president. I just want the best for my country and its people, and the orange virus is not good for my country.

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