Progress is being made between the NFL and the NFLPA, but they still have one or two key issues to hash out in order to have training camps around the league begin as scheduled. One of the main issues was players’ uncertainty with COVID-19 protocols, which led to many of them locking arms in virtual solidarity to voice their angst and threaten no football if their concerns weren’t addressed — attaching a “#wewanttoplay” hashtag to the grievances aired on social media this week. As the witching hour approaches for veterans to potentially report on July 28, the NFLPA has released figures regarding how many players have tested positive for the coronavirus at some point this offseason.
In their initial release, they noted a total of 95, but have since adjusted it down to 59. For those who would presume possible manipulation of the numbers, the NFLPA says that’s not the case, but instead that the initial head count of 95 accidentally included more than just players.
“The previous number included all known positives across the league, including staff, and has now been updated to include only players,” the NFLPA clarified in a follow-up tweet.
In a separate and official press release, the NFLPA made it clear it is unwavering in its attempts to keep players as safe as possible.
“Our union has been pushing for the strongest testing, tracing and treatment protocols to keep our players safe,” the statement reads. “The testing protocols we agreed to are one critical factor that will help us return to work safely and gives us the best chance to play and finish the season.”
Rookies began reporting to several camps around the league this week in some capacity, but were/are required to undergo COVID-19 testing before they’re allowed to enter a team facility. A new round of protocol agreed to by both the NFL and the NFLPA also establishes how frequently everyone in facilities will be subject to testing — basing it on a tiered model — and the NFLPA’s site that notes how many players have thus far tested positive this offseason also notes there are 24 of 32 IDER (Infectious Disease Emergency Response) plans still under review from NFL teams.
With only eight approved and additional issues such as the sharing of revenue loss still pending, and with less than a week ahead of the scheduled July 28 camp start date for veterans, there are many around the league who wonder if training camp will begin on time.
It’s certainly possible, but the clock is ticking.