Patrick Mahomes, other NFL stars blast league over coronavirus protocols

With NFL training camps set to open in just over a week, some of the league’s biggest stars are sowing doubt into the notion the season will kick off on time.

In a seemingly coordinated social media effort, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, JJ Watt, Russell Wilson, Todd Gurley and others each shared posts within minutes — and sometimes seconds — of each other, highlighting player health and safety concerns regarding the pandemic, while noting the possibility that the season could be postponed or cancelled if the league doesn’t meet the union’s demands. Players closed their respective posts with “#WeWantToPlay.”

“Getting ready to report this week hoping the @NFL will come to agreement with the safe and right protocols so we can feel protected playing the sport we love #WeWantToPlay,” Mahomes wrote on Twitter.

Watt tackled many of the issues on Twitter:

-“We still have not been granted the full and proper training camp acclimation period necessary as recommended by the medical and training staffs.”

-“We still do not know if there will be daily testing, every other day testing, etc.”

-“We still do not know how a positive Covid test will be handled in regards to others in close contact (in the huddle, directly engaged with, etc.)”

-“A strong and fair opt-out clause for those at higher risk or those with family members as higher risk has still not been agreed upon.”

-“If players do not show up on time, they can be fined or considered in breach of contract, even if health and safety protocols have not been agreed upon or IDER (Infectious Disease Emergency Response) plans have been approved.”

NFL Network reported the joint medical committee recommended a 21-day “acclimation period” to gradually ramp up activity, and that the NFL wanted players to arrive two weeks early under that scenario. The NFLPA said no to that, and also wants zero preseason games while the league wants two.

Brees blasted the league’s refusal to adopt COVID-19 safety guidelines set by doctors.

“We need Football! We need sports! We need hope! The NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent that” Brees wrote. “If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple.”

Gurley, and others, echoed the sentiment in an effort to gain the public’s support.

“You want to watch football this year?” Gurley wrote. “Us players need to remain healthy in order to make that happen. The @NFL needs to do their part in order to bring football back safely in 2020.”

Currently, no protocol is in place to shut down a team facility due to COVID-19 exposure or what amount of spread would force a team to quarantine.

Wilson’s fear stretches beyond the field and locker room.

“I am concerned. My wife is pregnant,” Wilson said of his wife Ciara, who is expecting a baby boy with the Seahawks quarterback. “@NFL training camp is about to start. And there’s still no clear plan on player health and family safety….We want to play foootball but we also want to protect our loved ones.”

Chiefs and Texans rookies are scheduled to report for training camp on Monday.

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