Just days before players are set to report for training camp in preparation for the 2020 NFL season, the NFL finds itself under intense scrutiny over health and safety concerns from players. While many call for the 2020 season to be delayed, though, it sounds like the league has no plans to stop anytime soon.
Will the NFL season start on time?
The NFL announced Saturday that training camp will start on time, with rookies reporting on Tuesday, quarterbacks and injured players showing up on Thursday and all other players arriving on July 28. However, concerns over the NFL’s lack of safety protocols and the risks of the coronavirus have players considering a strike.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, the league has stuck with its schedule. As the health crisis gets worse with multiple hot spots popping up in NFL cities, multiple NFL teams have encouraged the league office to delay training camp and the 2020 regular season.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the NFL’s league office is not receptive to the idea of delaying football season. Even with more of its clubs and players calling for the schedule to be pushed back, commissioner Roger Goodell remains unmoved.
It’s possible that the outpouring of criticism towards the league from players on Sunday could change things. As we saw in June, when multiple stars called out the league for not speaking out on social issues, Goodell released a video supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The NFL Players Association remains engaged in negotiations with the NFL on an economic and safety plan for the 2020 season. But both sides remain far apart on several key issues, which stand in the way of players taking the field.
Ultimately, delaying the regular season might be in the league’s greatest long-term interests. Pushing the first week of games into October would give players more time to acclimate at training camp, get their bodies ready for the season and the NFL could develop greater safety protocols.
It will just come down to whether the league is willing to make the unprecedented move during a pandemic.