With the scheduled start of the 2020 NFL season fast approaching, a host of the sport’s top names have taken to social media to voice their opposition to starting the season until the NFL implements satisfactory safety measures.
The NFL and the players’ union, the NFLPA have not yet agreed the safety protocols that need to be in place for the season to return.
And, after the Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh slammed the NFL’s current guidelines for teams to return to training as “humanly impossible” to follow, a host of big-name players have gone public with their unhappiness over the NFL’s current stance ahead of the new season.
The players, who are all jointly represented by their players’ union, know that as a collective they can exert pressure on the league to ensure their safety is catered for, or they can simply refuse to play.
That seems to be the stance taken by a host of top names, who called on the NFL to respond to their calls for better safety protocols for players to be implemented and made official before they commit to taking to the field in 2020.
Houston Texans star JJ Watt tweeted a huge list of unresolved issues that the players want addressed before they can return to action in 2020.
“We need Football! We need sports! We need hope!” tweeted New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
“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.”
His sentiments were echoed by his counterpart at the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, who tweeted, “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. #WeWantToPlay”
Defensive back Malcolm Jenkins criticized the NFL’s stance, saying, “It blows my mind that the NFL is unwilling to follow the recommendations of their own experts regarding player health and safety. If we want to have a FULL season this year we need the NFL to listen to their experts! #WeWantToPlay”
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was even more scathing as he called out NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to follow the lead of his NBA counterpart Adam Silver.
“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. #WeWantToPlay,” he commented.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz shared a laundry list of issues players face ahead of the coming campaign, saying “Playing football and feeling safe at work SHOULD NOT be mutually exclusive! Time is running down and we need answers.”
And Cleveland Browns pass rusher and former No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett issued a clear ultimatum to the league, tweeting, “If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. #WeWantToPlay”
Garrett’s teammate, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, hinted at similar sentiments, saying, “Crazy to see how the NFL is not following the recommendations of its own experts regarding health and safety for Us as players! As of today questions have not been answered and we want to play football. Y’all want to watch football this year?#WeWantToPlay”
The NFL season is set to begin on September 10 with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs playing host to the Houston Texans, but if the NFL doesn’t budge on its current plans, an impasse between the players and the league seems ever more likely.