NFLPA President JC Tretter Says NFL Unwilling to Prioritize Safety amid COVID-19

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 7, 2020

ARCHIVO - En esta foto del 8 de diciembre de 2019, JC Tretter, pívot de los Browns de Cleveland, abandona el terreno tras un encuentro ante los Bengals de Cincinnati (AP Foto/David Richard, archivo)
David Richard/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter, who is also president of the NFL Players Association, believes the league isn't listening to the advice of its medical experts about how to navigate during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an article on the NFLPA's website, Tretter wrote the NFL is "unwilling to prioritize player safety" and is operating as if "the virus will bend" to the whims of football and the upcoming season:

"As a preventative measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFLPA and NFL formed a Joint Committee of doctors, trainers and strength coaches to develop protocols designed to bring players up to full speed in a healthy way when they return. The NFL initially accepted and implemented the Joint Committee's suggestions, including items like no joint practices and no fans at training camp. However, the NFL was unwilling to follow the Joint Committee's recommendation of a 48-day training camp schedule."

NFL general counsel Jeff Pash told reporters last week that teams have been advised training camps will open as planned on July 28. 

Last week, ESPN's Kevin Seifert reported the preseason will be reduced from four to two games. The NFL hasn't officially announced the decision, presumably as negotiations with the union continue. 

Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the NFLPA is "opposed" to preseason games and has talked about a revamped training camp schedule that takes place over 45 days leading into the regular season:   

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Tretter explained the NFL has provided "no medical reason" to hold preseason games, which prompted all 32 NFLPA board of player representatives to unanimously vote against having any on the schedule this year. 

"Every decision this year that prioritizes normalcy over innovation, custom over science or even football over health, significantly reduces our chances of completing the full season," Tretter wrote. 

Thus far, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game and enshrinement ceremony are the only NFL events that have been impacted by the pandemic. The preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, scheduled for Aug. 6, has been canceled, and the enshrinement ceremony was postponed until 2021. 

The 2020 NFL regular season is scheduled to begin Sept. 10 with the Houston Texans taking on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.


Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.

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