NFL Players Association pushes for cancellation of preseason games as coronavirus cases rise

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Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt (99) warms up by hitting the goal post before an NFL Divisional Playoff game between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs on January 12, 2020 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO.

GP: Scott Winters | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

After months of staying on the sidelines, it’s now the NFL that finds itself on the pandemic protocol clock.

And time is running out.

The NFL still holds July 28 as the start date for club training camps as the league begins to ramp up operations for its 2020 regular season. But health, safety and economic issues remain on the table with National Football League Players Association, or NFLPA.

Without a deal, the NFLPA can halt NFL plans. Players can file a complaint to delay the start of training camps – some rookies are expected to return as early as Monday – and use the reason working conditions are not up to standard if Covid-19 protocols are still not settled . The grievance is optional, but the NFLPA would seek to shut down camps once a player files a complaint.

The NFL has not made an official available to comment on the matter.

The issues are similar to the Major League Baseball pandemic battle. Economically, NFL owners want payback funds for the potential for lost income. With the likelihood that there are no fans at the games, club owners have requested a 35% escrow of players.

The NFLPA considers players out of bounds and instead issued its compensation criteria to a league that grosses $ 15 billion a year. According to people with knowledge of the negotiations, the NFLPA is seeking $ 500,000 per player if the league begins its regular season and then has to cancel games due to Covid-19. Players also want the preseason canceled entirely, seeing no economic reason to play countless games. The NFL already canceled the two pre-season competitions of the exhibition due to the pandemic.

The individuals spoke to CNBC on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the negotiations.

NFLPA President J.C. Tretter written to union members in a public letter, in which he expressed concerns about “the safety of players, both in terms of preventing the transmission of the virus and preventing injury” after an extended hiatus in the offseason. Tretter also said that members of the NFLPA board of directors voted against the preseason games this year.

“Since March we’ve had hours of return-to-work meetings, reviewed research and developed detailed protocols – all of this will be wasted if the NFL refuses to think and act differently when it comes to getting through a season. complete. The players don’t. we just want to go back to work, we want to stay at work, ”Tretter wrote.

On Thursday, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt took to Twitter to list the concerns of more players, including the impact of Covid-19 results on future contracts.

The players’ union is also awaiting emergency response plans and daily tests from the 32 teams. The NFLPA is also researching the league’s policy on opening camps in Covid-19 hotspots such as Florida, California, and Texas.

The United States reported 77,255 new cases of coronavirus Thursday. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, it shattered a one-day record high of nearly 10,000.

The NFL is scheduled to begin its 2020 regular season on September 10.

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