Five New England Patriot players have opted out of the 2020 season, making a total of 21 players declining their big contracts this season. Some are getting critiqued but if we are being 100% honest, I would not play in the NFL this year.
It's a dream to play football, you're losing so much money, the virus probably wouldn't impact you very much, all of these are arguments I've heard for why athletes should play even though the threat of catching the virus is very real. To that I say, the NFL isn't going anywhere. There will be a next season and a season after that. Taking my and my family's safety shouldn't be a reason to lose my job.
I'm going to be even more honest right now. If I could opt out of my CURRENT job, I would do it. If I could sign on the dotted line and take a paycut that would still feed my family, I'd do it, even though my job consists of writing things on the internet and sitting in a room by myself.
It's not a fear thing. I'm not scared of the coronavirus, I'm scared of being the guy who got the coronavirus and gave it to a coworker, my mom, my friends who have respiratory problems. I take the people I care about's health seriously, and if I can do anything to protect it, I would. Here's why the NFL specifically gives me pause about this season.
Baseball was up and running for a weekend before two teams had to cancel games, MLS got rid of teams for the bubble to work, the NBA dealt with positive tests for weeks before the bubble worked. By the way, the NFL doesn't get a bubble. There is no wait it out until everyone's clear. In the NFL, every time somebody steps out of their home, they risk getting it and spreading it to teammates and loved ones. Sure, we all run that risk, but the NFL has nothing in place to try and minimize that risk like my job has.
Mike Bianchi works from home, we wear masks around the building, we are required to wipe down the studio before and after a show. We have rules! The NFL has, at least for the time being, been lax on their protocols.
I wouldn't risk it, would you?