Ever since the Coronavirus swept the nation, cancellations have become the norm. Concerts and sporting events have become a rarity that we cherish. While we have gotten used to this new lack of access to our favorite forms of entertainment, for sports like football that weren’t in session when COVID-19 first hit in the US, it seemed to many like the next season was far enough out to be minimally affected by the pandemic. This optimistic view is being put to question now though as 72 players have tested positive for the Coronavirus. While this number makes up only 2.5% of the players in the league, the seriousness of this virus is something that must be considered when figuring out how to return to play. The NFL Players Association has made it a point to highlight the importance of things like testing frequency, the use of specialty face shields, and other measures they feel are necessary in order to return safely.
While the prospect of returning to the field is exciting for all, some players are less than pleased with how the NFL has communicated its plans to come back safely. One specific player that has made his discomfort around the current situation known is star defensive end JJ Watt. On July 16th, Watt took to Twitter to let his grievances be heard. Some of his frustrations include a lack of information regarding testing frequency, lack of an Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan, and other areas that he feels the league needs to clarify. However, Watt still made a point to highlight that he and the rest of the athletes in the league still want to play by beginning and ending his list with the simple statement that “We want to play”. With the training camps for most teams starting on July 28th and rookies required to report on July 19th, the league needs to quickly answer the many questions brought forward by its players. Hopefully the league and its union can come to some common ground soon in order to safely bring back one of America’s favorite sports.