Players blast NFL’s COVID-19 response in coordinated social media campaign

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Several NFL players took to Twitter around noon Eastern on Sunday to blast the NFL for what the players say is the lack of a coherent plan to keep them healthy while having a safe and successful season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In tweets that were obviously part of a coordinated campaign, players including Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Stefon Diggs said the NFL’s planning has been unacceptable.

Brees wrote: “We need Football! We need sports! We need hope! The NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent that. If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. Get it done @NFL.”

Wilson wrote, “I am concerned. My wife is pregnant. NFL training camp is about to start. And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety. We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones.”

Watt wrote: “Once again in the interest of keeping everyone (players & fans) as informed as possible, here is an updated list of what we as players know and don’t know as the first group gets set to report to training camp tomorrow.” Watt included a list of the questions players have.

Diggs wrote: “If #AdamSilver can respect the voices and protect his @NBA players why can’t @nflcommish do the same? Listen to your players. If we want to have a full season it will have to look different with OUR safety as the priority. @NFL make the necessary changes.”

Players used the #WeWantToPlay hashtag, making it clear that they don’t want to cancel the season, but they do want to play the season with the proper precautions in place.

79 responses to “Players blast NFL’s COVID-19 response in coordinated social media campaign

  1. Since players obviously think they’re smarter, let them come up with a plan.
    Ill bet 10 to 1 they can’t.

  2. Au contraire. The owners do have a Covid plan, namely, that the players shoulder the economic losses in the even of a truncated season. The billionaire owners just haven’t gotten around to thinking about the part of the plan that pertains to the players health and well being.

  3. There is no way to guarantee the safety of the players. They can all act like there is a magic fix, but there isn’t.

    There will be no NFL this year…and there shouldn’t be until we get this horror under control.

    Hospitals in Florida and Texas have exceeded capacity. Doctors are literally deciding who to let die. They simply can’t treat everybody.

  4. What did you expect? There isn’t a national disaster opt out in the collective bargaining agreement. They’ll push back however they can. Especially after admitting that players working out on their own was hurting their leverage. Those that have been paid large don’t mind sitting home. But you can bet the guy that would of been 54th on the roster is hoping/praying there is as season. As do I.

  5. The world will survive without football in 2020 and possibly 2021, really it will.

    Stay healthy my friends!

  6. Cancel the season and give them all basic unemployment plus $600. Just like everyone else. Seems fair.

  7. The constant bickering between owners and players just pushes the marginal/average fans away – many who will never return or spend another dollar on anything NFL-related. The NFL as a whole should be more concerned about their “brand” than whether or not there is a season in 2020.

  8. I don’t see the Covid-19 precautions and protocols as an insurmountable problem between the NFL and NFLPA. They can negotiate and come up with a compromise – they’re not that far apart.

    The real problem is money. The players want to get paid no matter what, and owners don’t want to be on the hook if the season is cut short or not played at all.

    Players are going to have to accept basically a weekly pay-for-play scheme where they get paid for the games that are played. Otherwise there will be no season, and the players won’t get paid.

  9. Short of putting everyone in a contained, protected bubble like the NBA has done, there is no chance of ensuring that no one gets or spreads the virus in the NFL. Too long of a season with too many players with too much close contact as part of the game. Tack on too many players that have already demonstrated an inability to behave as would be required to reduce chance of infection.

    If the players want safety, they should tell the NFL they, collectively, aren’t interested in playing the season.

  10. Also with tv ratings that would be through the roof if they actually play. & with new tv deals in the works. It is in both parties financial interest to play.

  11. Not a single test should be allocated for professional athletes that enter a locker room or take a field,court, rink…whatever it may be. This is not a hoax and a lot of people have died. I’ve lost a friend and former coworker to COVID. We do not need football…we need people to wear masks, socially distance and for a vaccine to be found. That is what we need.

  12. It’s pretty simple. If as a player you don’t feel safe, make the difficult decision not to play. Millions of Americans are, and have been, making this decision for months now.

  13. There is no greater failure in Goddell’s time as commish then him allowing players to run the NFL

  14. the NFL is non-essential…im ok with no season…i could use a break from the players and owners drama anyway…i have things to do with my time that are more constructive than watching sports but i do know that i am in the minority with that…

  15. Someone needs to tell JJ Watt that part of being safe is wearing the mask that he refuses to wear.

  16. Millions are working for far less compensation and have been every day since this started.

  17. It’s the flu. Get over it or retire.

    Nobody can be forced to play, they can retire for any reason at any time

  18. Nobody needs football. Including these pampered multi-millionaires.

    Maybe Watt could start demonstrating his sincerity by not complaining about face masks. And if wealthy Wilson is worried about his family, he can opt out and stay home with them, without any concerns about money and a mega-millions job waiting whenever he’s ready to come back.

    Maybe a canceled season is just what this league needs.

  19. I’ll play for minimum wage!
    Millions ready to take their jobs!
    Opt out and watch us!

  20. Here is the plan: test players two days before games. If positive, they go on COVID-19 isolation IR. Temperature taken during pregame & no one with minor cold like symptoms can be activated or on sidelines. Always, when possible, practice Social distancing, with Masks worn at all meetings. Testing done once a week to limit exposure during Practices. No chewing, no spitting and lots of precautions taken to limit exposure at facilities. Coaches over 65 & those with health concerns must be upstairs in the coaches box or isolated during the game. No cheerleading squads, bands or other non essential people allowed on field, including non activated players.

  21. You mightn’t agree with the players but they are nowhere near as conniving as the owners.

  22. Um, they do have a union, don’t they? I think it’s called the NFLPA. Can’t agree on protocols, don’t get paid boys, that’s life in 2020. NBA, NHL, MLB, golf, soccer, I’ll be watching you, buh bye.

  23. Just cancel the season. No one gets paid and the salary cap is even lower than expected next year. The players are acting like 3 year olds who cry when they do not get their way. It’s a power grab and if I were the NFL I would call them on it.

  24. I wouldn’t be going into a locker room full of guys, and then go home to my pregnant wife. I don’t think there’s any way to guarantee safety for everyone the players might come in contact with. Some players might have to choose to play football or choose to stay home. I’m not recommending any choices, and it’s different for each player. Some young players that are on the roster bubble might have to quarantine, while a player like Russell Wilson will have his job waiting for him when he returns. I think the safest place is out in open space like on a football field, and the most dangerous places are locker rooms-training rooms, and the press box. There’s probably a way to keep it pretty safe, but I’m still not sure the majority of people understand how the virus is transmitted. Think of it as a toxic gas. Your immune system can fight off small amounts. There are toxins in every breath we take. There are thousands of cars emitting toxic fumes, but we can handle it. But you can’t sit in a running car inside your garage with the garage door closed for an extended period of time. That’s called suicide. You can sit there longer if the garage door is open. You might be able to ride in a car with a sick person for one minute with all the windows down, but you can’t take a 5 hour car ride and not get sick. So if you’re at a party on the beach with the wind blowing like it usually does, you can be close to other people. But if you’re at a party inside a house with a lot of people, it doesn’t matter if you’re six feet apart, or sixteen feet apart. You’re getting sick. Think of the gas chamber. It’s a small room. If you put that same amount of gas into a warehouse the size of a Home Depot, you’d be there for a week. Also, they knew right away that we all needed to be wearing masks, but they lied to us until all the medical people had a decent supply, then they started recommending masks. Other countries have gotten it under control. We’ve just been playing politics. My advice to keep safe is do as much research as you can. If you think you’re going to get good information from your TV, I think you’re inclined to buy a bridge.

  25. I never realized how blessed I am to be in the company of so many highly important people.

  26. I was saying SHUT IT DOWN in May and was scorned. What now? They have to shut it down.

  27. The NFL should follow NASCAR’s lead…they should just race fast cars around a track. 22 cars with Chicago Bears vs 22 cars with Green Bay Packers etc, etc. I’d watch that.

  28. If this doesn’t get under control right now, come fall/winter when the flu season comes back around we will all be locked down. Again. Football will be the last thing anyone will be concerned about. That isn’t a doomsday thing or anything, it’s just the limited capacity of our health care system.

    On a broader note, think about all the people that lost their jobs the first lockdown. The 100k+ already dead. We had an opportunity to clamp down on this thing, like a lot of other countries have done, and we failed. All of us. All that life lost, money sacrificed, is all for nothing. This country is lost, without any rudder, and things will only get worse as the winter comes. What a shame.

  29. If they do play this year it won’t be any recognizable season. It will be a bastardized version of one. One with an asterisk next to it.

    Cancel the season and hopefully 2021 the NFL will be back to normal.

    Some owners will have to take on new partners or sell in order to stay afloat just like thousands of other companies are doing and the players will have to hunker down just like millions of other Americans.

    You’re not special you’re entitled!

  30. Scratching my head at the comments suggesting the cancellation of the season will result in players not collecting a paycheck. Barring some sort of compromise or courtroom drama, the players WILL get paid, even if they never step on the field. The players have the leverage on this one, and that’s why they’re trying to focus the discussion away form $ and towards covid-19 safety. Why fix what they don’t view as broken?

    Obviously there are players that might have some difficult decisions to make related to their personal health and that of their family members. It would be interesting to scroll through social media posts from the past couple of months and see if any of the players currently speaking out have also been posting about workouts with other players (like Russ, I believe), etc.

  31. you’re an idiot if you think that the billionaire owners don’t
    have insurance on every contract for just such an event.

  32. I’m coming from a place where I haven’t stopped working cause of this stupid thing that we really can’t do anything about. I’m sorry that I don’t feel any sympathy for multimillionaires who play a game for a living. Does the man or women working in the factories, truck docks, retail stores sacrifice any less or risk any less still going to work and making only thousands in a year. If you don’t want to play don’t but don’t expect your employer to pay you either. As for fans in the stands let that be people’s choices in life. I’m not going force anyone to go but I would go cause the risk isn’t as bad as they try to make it seem.

  33. Over half the deaths came in NY & NJ bc those gov’s put infected patients in nursing homes. The death rate per 1m people was 7x higher whereas the south is getting positive cases but not as deadly as NY. So, protect the high risk folks and the rest of the population needs to learn to live with it. So lets not over react and get on with it. Jack Nicklaus had it and recovered and he’s 80 yrs old. Lets get back to work and quit cowering in the corner.

  34. Wait… how many professional athletes have died because of this horrible COVID?
    Thats what I thought. Get to work.

  35. Wait a sec, JJ Watt complains about wearing a mask and now is complaining about player safety? Does this guy stand in front of the mirror all day and argue with himself too?

  36. If the owners renig or balk on this season, I’m done with them and their poor, abused, mistreated, spoiled, crybaby millionaire players. That’s a sincere promise gentlemen!

  37. The players don’t want to play but want their full pay. They are setting up the lawsuit, to claim the NFL’s negligence caused them to lose their salaries.

  38. I wish people would stop spreading misinformation. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is in Texas and is not having capacity problems. I am not sure about Houston and some of the border towns which never had a great capacity to begin with. Tarrant County which is where the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers play has 1,688 beds available out of 5,664. The only problem for anyone in that area is if they want to have elective procedures which are currently on hold. No one is dying there because of a shortage of beds and I have not heard of anyone in Dallas County dying because of a bed shortage either.

  39. So ten out of 1600 players tweeted and the NFL is supposed to do something?

    Do these players want to play or not? Last week J.J. Watt said he wouldn’t wear a face shield. Now he is trying to make it seem like the NFL isn’t doing enough to protect the players. Brees is no stranger to putting his foot in his mouth either…

  40. annapaulinaluna says:
    July 19, 2020 at 4:07 pm
    I hope and pray season is cancelled due to f4ke Virus.


    K00l st0rY, 8ro!

  41. The NFL is a joke. I hope the season is cancelled and the franchises plummet in value. The owners are scumbags

  42. I’ve come to the opinion that it is probably in the best interest of the NFL to just cancel the season. Covid and politics have created an unhealthy environment. Give it a year for the politics to calm down and covid to get under control. A year without money would give the players a greater appreciation of how good they really have it in comparison to the average Joe fans.

  43. There is not and never will be a magic dust to protect you so make a decision like I will sit out the season or maybe there should not be a season and then spend your off season griping about the owners while you sit by your swimming pool. Good luck.

  44. Kevin Ward says:
    July 19, 2020 at 12:35 pm
    If basketball and hockey can be played so can football do your job
    Says the guy wearing a mask everywhere he goes.

  45. Personally, I don’t care if all pro sports exit their seasons this year. Pro sports is a business. Fans see it as a game. A gateway on X afternoon/evening. All for what, bragging rights they have little to no part of?

    Regarding players, cancel all sports for the year. Then we’ll see who’s been smart with their money. Tired of hearing about players who can’t live in 3-5 million a year. Tired of owners who need every penny.

    Monday Night Football used to be THE game to watch. Now it’s Sunday night. Fine. Do away with MNF. Just my two pennies.

  46. * adamant, sorry tried typing too fast, just graduated from 2 fingers per hand to 3, maybe I’ll go back to 2! LOL

  47. The NFL and the players/everyone else are looking at this all wrong.. The correct play is to wait until after the Presidential Election in 2020, if Biden wins then the “virus” magically disappears, and the NFL can play a 12 game season, if Trump wins well, I guess the NFL will be canceled until 2025(after the next presidential election for those of you that find math hard)..

  48. The correct play is to wait until after the Presidential Election in 2020, if Biden wins then the “virus” magically disappears
    I can’t tell if you’re smart and realize that anyone but Trump will make us better equipped to fight the virus or if you’re dumb and still think this is a political conspiracy.

  49. You know what could be some good PR instead of running their thumbs on Twitter? Get a seasonal, throwaway job, or work more on launching or expanding their charities.

    I know I’d be shocked to see Kirk Cousins bagging groceries or Dak Prescott changing engine oil for a few months just for the fun of it.

  50. When this affects the Super Bowl, the commish will pay attention. Until then…

  51. My girlfriend works in a grocery store as a clerk, her company was generous enough to give her an extra $2 an hour to be face to face with strangers 8 hours a day…5 days a week during the surge here in NYS. Even though the virus is still present the have rescinded it due to economics. Perhaps the NFL players would accept that type of offer…say maybe 3 bucks an hour….good enough for clerks sticking out there necks so we can eat!

  52. The NFL has enough money to swing politicians. Maybe they should have invested some of that money to ensure that a season is actually played. At this point we are months away from any sort of downward trend as a country.

  53. What the fans my realize the NFL is not that important in their lives if they don’t play this season. That’s will be bad news for the NFL and over paid players.

  54. NFL players are probably the healthiest people around. If they don’t want to play, cancel the season, I am sure the players would suffer the income more than the owners.

  55. The whining from these dudes makes me feel a lot better about my Marine Corps service. We all look at these players as borderline super human. But then we see a situation like this, and they cant hang… Imagine telling one of these guys they needed to go over to the desert for a year, while they get shot at, and you might get a phone call or video call with your wife and kids once every 3-4 weeks (depending on your job). LMFAO. These players are so pampered, so coddled, so out of touch that they dont even know it. It isnt their fault, but get some perspective before you go on your social media blitz.

  56. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    July 20, 2020 at 10:57 am
    Just delay the season until we have a vaccine.


    If herd immunity doesn’t work….then how will a vaccine matter?

  57. SWFLPC.INC says:
    July 20, 2020 at 12:36 pm
    patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    July 20, 2020 at 10:57 am
    Just delay the season until we have a vaccine.


    If herd immunity doesn’t work….then how will a vaccine matter?

    The most dire question of all. If people can get infected twice, how can a a vaccine make them immune?

    Just a whole bunch of “what if’s”, but it is obvious that the MLB and NFL’s responses to getting ready for play has a disconnect with the players.

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