Donovan Smith: Risking health “does not seem like a risk worth taking”

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With just over two weeks before players are scheduled to return to training camps, the NFL hasn’t had to deal with players opting out the way other sports have seen.

But one fairly significant part of a team with hopes to contend admitted Friday he had major concerns about returning to work during a pandemic.

Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith just posted on social media that he’s worried about the safety of himself and his family if he goes into a camp environment in one of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots.

“With the start of the 2020 NFL season fast approaching, many thoughts and questions roam my mind as I’m sure it does for many of my fellow ‘coworkers’ across the league,” he wrote. “The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things. Football is not one. To continue discussing the many UNKNOWNS do not give me the comfort. Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking.

“With my first child due in 3 weeks, I can’t help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80+ people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter. How can a sport that requires physical contact on every snap and transferral of all types of bodily fluid EVERY SINGLE PLAY practice safe social distancing? How can I make sure that I don’t bring COVID-19 back to my household?

“Yes, we can get tested everyday, but if it takes 24 hours to get my results, how can I know each day that I am not spreading this virus or contracting it? The reoccurring issue here is how? There are too many ‘hows’ that have yet to be answered to ease player concerns and ensure the safety of not only myself, but also my family. I just can’t imagine how the game will be the same during these unprecedented times. Now to hear that 35% of my paycheck may be withheld while we are out sacrificing our health and wellness for the joy and entertainment of everyone else who will be safe at home in front of their TVs? Something isn’t right here. That should at LEAST warrant a pay raise due to the risk, not a cut. I am not a lab rat or guinea pig to test theories on. I am a man, a son, brother, soon to be father, and I deserve to be safe at work.”

Smith’s probably not the only player with these concerns. And while he stopped short of saying he wouldn’t return, that’s a huge issue for the team and league as they try to return to play.

31 responses to “Donovan Smith: Risking health “does not seem like a risk worth taking”

  1. Does this guy understand that every play and every practice he is risking his health? He’s made some money, he should retire and live in his basement.

  2. Yeah I’m safe at … wait , I have to go to work daily just to put food on the table , I do not have millions laying around so I have to risk my health if I don’t work I get no pay … privileged much ?

  3. Like there’s going to be an NFL season.
    Assuming there will be at least an attempt at one, pro football is not an essential service and therefore I have no issue with any player placing safety and his family above the game. Just don’t expect to get paid, or accrue a year of service toward fulling your contract.
    I’m all for safety first, but you cant have it both ways. Tough choices often come with consequences.

  4. Seems like common sense here. If you’re a young single guy, that’s one thing. When you have a family, you’re perspective and priorities do (or SHOULD) do a 180 degree turn.

  5. The MLS experiment is already down two teams due to virus infections, playing in Florida where the virus is now out of control. The NBA will soon start there own experiment also in Florida. I seriously doubt either league will be able to play for long. It’s time to admit the utter failure of our country’s response to this pandemic. There will not be football this year, it’s time to admit the reality.

  6. Then sit home. Dont collect pay. I am at work with Covid cases happening to co workers. Big deal. I prefer to earn my paycheck.

  7. “I’m working and you make more than me so you should have to work too!” Please, what braindead argument. We are a nation of personal freedoms… well until those principles make you angry, then no, go play.

  8. Seems like covid hits the big fat folks worse than others. While the young and healthy aren’t at significant risk, you gotta wonder about the big guys even if they are healthy.

  9. Can’t say I blame him for being concerned. He’s playing in one of the worst states in the U.S. as far as COVID goes.

  10. Not sure Why the Entire country is open for work Except for sports? Entitled rich people calling the shots always has been. Go to work already! Every one else is! Listen if it is that unsafe to work then WHY do we have to go back and not sports?

  11. secondgenameriacan says:
    July 10, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Does this guy understand that every play and every practice he is risking his health? He’s made some money, he should retire and live in his basement.
    —————————————————-

    I’m pretty sure that he’s aware of that. However, in a normal year he is only risking his body’s health, not everyone else he comes in contact with off the field. Why should he retire and live in his basement? This isn’t an all or none issue. This is a current issue that needs major temporary adjustments to our lifestyles. I know a year or more is difficult for many to comprehend as “temporary” but that’s where we are at with this pandemic. It’s reality. You can go with the tough guy mentality or the ignorance mentality, but that doesn’t change the reality. Just look at Florida. Way too much ignorance and tough guy attitude going around and now 1/3 of all tests are coming back positive.

  12. somuchdramainthepft says:
    July 10, 2020 at 11:56 am
    secondgenameriacan says:
    July 10, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Does this guy understand that every play and every practice he is risking his health? He’s made some money, he should retire and live in his basement.
    —————————————————-

    I’m pretty sure that he’s aware of that. However, in a normal year he is only risking his body’s health, not everyone else he comes in contact with off the field. Why should he retire and live in his basement? This isn’t an all or none issue. This is a current issue that needs major temporary adjustments to our lifestyles. I know a year or more is difficult for many to comprehend as “temporary” but that’s where we are at with this pandemic. It’s reality. You can go with the tough guy mentality or the ignorance mentality, but that doesn’t change the reality. Just look at Florida. Way too much ignorance and tough guy attitude going around and now 1/3 of all tests are coming back positive.

    ——-
    Why do you assume it will only be a year? What if there is no workable vaccine? What percentage of deaths occur in this guy’s age group?

  13. If he has enough money to sit this year out good for him. I am sure someone else will happily take his spot and if they get in a real bind i am willing to fill in for him while he plays it safe.

  14. Don’t risk you or your family’s health. Sit out the season and collect you unemployment instead of a paycheck.

  15. Generally I wouldn’t have any use for talk like that, but the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick proves that owners don’t have winning as their number one priority. I mean, if the owners have other things that take precedent over winning, I don’t think players should be asked to take unnecessary risks. If owners were all in on winning, then I would expect the same from the players. I don’t blame the owners for the way the feel, and I can’t blame the players for the way they feel. It starts at the top. The owners set the example that the employees follow. Expect to see more of this.

  16. I don’t feel sorry for you or anyone else in the NFL. The reality is right now there are bigger problems in the world. Play or don’t play you’re still only entertainment.

  17. mrburns21 says:
    July 10, 2020 at 11:31 am
    “I’m working and you make more than me so you should have to work too!” Please, what braindead argument. We are a nation of personal freedoms… well until those principles make you angry, then no, go play.

    He said we would all be safe at home watching him on TV risking his life lol when we laborers are out making sure he can get food , drive his car , has a toilet that works … I could go on and on , Athletes them selfs are non essential to the full meaning of the word but privileged to the full meaning of the word

  18. chastain00 says:
    July 10, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Yeah I’m safe at … wait , I have to go to work daily just to put food on the table , I do not have millions laying around so I have to risk my health if I don’t work I get no pay … privileged much?
    ————————————————-

    Yes he is. There are plenty of privileged people in the world, so what? Why criticize someone who is thinking about the health of his family? You and I don’t have the ability to play in the NFL, so we are stuck working our jobs like most people.

    Pro athletes and other entertainers get paid lots of money because that’s the industry they’re in. The NFL brings in billions of dollars every year, so they can afford to pay players like they do. I see no point in being bitter about it.

  19. rodgerstonelson says:
    July 10, 2020 at 1:43 pm
    Do what you have to do to protect your family.
    *****************************************************************************************

    Precisely. If that means go to work, do it.

    If that means huddling in fear in your home, go for it.

    Nobody is forcing you to play football & make millions.

  20. He can choose to play or not to play. If he does not play and does not receive pay, I don’t have a problem.

    However, if he hopes to not play and get the taxpayers to pay his full salary for the year, then I have a problem.

  21. AFW AFW says:
    July 10, 2020 at 2:25 pm
    chastain00 says:
    July 10, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Yeah I’m safe at … wait , I have to go to work daily just to put food on the table , I do not have millions laying around so I have to risk my health if I don’t work I get no pay … privileged much?
    ————————————————-

    Yes he is. There are plenty of privileged people in the world, so what? Why criticize someone who is thinking about the health of his family? You and I don’t have the ability to play in the NFL, so we are stuck working our jobs like most people.

    Pro athletes and other entertainers get paid lots of money because that’s the industry they’re in. The NFL brings in billions of dollars every year, so they can afford to pay players like they do. I see no point in being bitter about it.
    So what your saying sounds kinda like a current situation Our nation is in turmoil about , like why can’t someone have beach property just because they don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars or live in safe communities because they can’t afford to because people of wealth lock them out

  22. Quit saying people who stay home are cowering in fear. That is their choice on how to deal with this. You also could stay home, but you choose to work to support your family. That is great, I get it. You do what you feel you have to do, and let others make their choice. You may not agree with each others,’ choice, but people are allowed to do what they need to do.

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