League deferring all issues of COVID-19 and coaching staffs to teams

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Recently, the league said that opt-out procedures for coaches and assistant coaches will be treated as individual team matters. It will be up to the teams to deal with more issues than that when it comes to coaching staffs.

Per a league source, the NFL believes that all matters regarding the pandemic and coaching staffs fall within the purview of the individual clubs. This includes procedures applicable to protecting, for example, coaches who fall into the same high-risk categories that qualify players for a full-season opt-out with no-strings-attached compensation.

For those members of the coaching staffs not inclined to opt out (assuming their teams even let them), what protocols will be used to keep them safe this season? Again, the league says that’s up to the teams.

This means that, if/when a head coach or assistant coach contracts COVID-19 and has a bad outcome, the league office will be able to say, “Don’t blame us.” The teams need to realize that this will be the attitude, and they need to come up with strategies for protecting the coaching staffs, especially those who are at higher risk of serious illness or death.

The broader problem is this: NFL coaches and assistant coaches have no union. If they had a union, these issues definitely would have been handled by now. Perhaps, as the dust settles on the pandemic and the coaches see how they’ve been treated by the various individual teams, a long-overdue push will commence to protect coaches via the same collective bargaining rights that are used by the players and the officials when dealing with the NFL.

6 responses to “League deferring all issues of COVID-19 and coaching staffs to teams

  1. NOt having a central policy seems like a bad idea. It’s like the NFL wants the teams’ Covid fight to be part of the competition.

  2. This is how it should be done. The COVID reality on the ground near Lambeau is quite different than what people are going through in Giants/Jets territory or in South Florida, Southern California, etc. it would be difficult to implement a one size fits all since it could address one market quite well and be overkill or not enough in others.

  3. jimmycrackcorn says: “The buck has been passed. This is called transfer of liability.”
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    No, what they conveniently left out here is that coaching staff are not unionized, the moment the league imposes set management rules on 32 INDEPENDENT businesses, it becomes a COLLUSION case.

  4. brutus3413 says:
    August 6, 2020 at 11:26 am
    This is how it should be done. The COVID reality on the ground near Lambeau is quite different than what people are going through in Giants/Jets territory or in South Florida, Southern California, etc. it would be difficult to implement a one size fits all since it could address one market quite well and be overkill or not enough in others.
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    I agree with this to some degree, but at this point Covid is everywhere. I am in a rural area that just had it’s first major public transmission surge in the last month, so I get where you are coming from. However, there should be some sort of minimum baseline for protection across the league. Every one of these teams plays in a major metro area that all have a significant number of cases and spread. The NFL has shown that they are way behind when it comes dealing with this compared to the NBA, NHL and even MLB. Allowing billionaires, who already live in a bubble, to decide what is best for their most vulnerable employees without some sort of standard seems a little reckless when your motto is to protect the shield.

  5. Once again in sports we deal with a situation where each team is independently owned but are part of a league that interact with and affect each other. Leaving each team to install their own safety protocols which will certainly vary from team to team. If one team’s lax procedures/ enforcements allows an infected player to take the field, due to the nature of the sport, both teams get infected, who is responsible? We’ve already seen MLB and NBA situation where one teams mistakes have affected other teams. A similar breach of containment in football would cause far greater damage due to the more limited number of games and, of course, the more physical nature of football. The chances of a breach is greater in football because of the greater number of players and because of the more unruly nature of the players. NBA and MLB don’t get into the number and seriousness of off field incidents as NFL players. Don’t expect any difference when it comes to Covid19. The league’s abdication of responsibility will come back to bite them.

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