Several high-level NFL players are reportedly considering opting out of playing in the upcoming season. While he wouldn’t name any names, Yahoo Sports‘ Charles Robinson posted on Twitter that at least one of the men thinking of skipping the 2020 season is an “elite level guy.” You can see Robinson’s tweet here.
Robinson went on to say that some of the NFL players looking to opt out were considering their options because of preexisting conditions that could make a COVID-19 infection more severe. The reporter said there are a few players that have asthma. The elite-level guy who Robinson would not divulge is one of those who has that condition.
The writer also reported there aren’t any final decisions on whether or not they will sit out the season. He added that even if they decide to play, it’s become clear there are NFL players that are not confident about doing so in the middle of a pandemic.
Darin Baydoun of Sports Illustrated reported on Friday that the league is taking the concerns seriously. He added the owners and the NFL Players Association have entered into negotiations on how to deal with players who might decide they do not want to play in the upcoming season.
He cited NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero, who appeared on NFL Now earlier this week and said both the league and the NFLPA have come up with preliminary plans.
“My understanding is both the union and the league intend to have an opt-out for players who have either a pre-existing condition, family with pre-existing conditions (or) just general concerns over COVID-19, and would not want to play this season,” Pelissero said.
Among the issues reportedly being discussed is a deadline for when a player can decide to opt out. The NFL is set to open their preseason camps on July 28, and it’s not known if the league might want players to make a decision before that date. Pelissero said the league could decide a player can opt out at any point before the season officially begins.
Baydoun says one of the more essential talking points will be how sitting out will affect a player’s salary. He added discussions will likely center around whether a player who doesn’t partake in the season will have to pay back a portion of their salary, or all of it.
Baydoun added that there are some in the league who have made enough money to forgo one season’s salary. The issue is more likely to impact those who are on the lower end of the pay scale, and have to decide between playing and opting for their safety. It’s a decision Major League Baseball players are still making as that league moves closer to opening day.