Many NFL players are scheduled to report to training camps this week, but there’s plenty to be still worked out to play football this season. NFL Players Association leadership held a call with the Pro Football Writers of America on Friday to talk about issues facing the players, including the frequency of testing, the amount of preseason games, and the overall economic impact on the league. The salary cap could drop by as much as $70 million to $128 million per team if games are played with empty stadiums.
“Wearing a mask will probably be the most significant component of whether sports return in this country,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. “That’s not a political statement. That’s a common-sense and scientific statement. Nothing will bring fans back to our stadiums faster than the simple decision across the country to wear a mask.”
The league and NFLPA continue to exchange proposals for reopening protocols. The players want daily testing and contact tracing, no preseason games, and an extended ramp-up period to help make up for spring and summer inactivity. The NFL wants testing every other day and has already canceled two preseason games. The league has also offered players who opt out of the season a $150,000 advance on their 2021 salary.
Since the call, NFL players – including Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA President JC Tretter, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas – have taken to Twitter to urge the NFL to listen to medical experts in how to return to play successfully, sharing tweets with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay.