NFL, NFLPA Reportedly Reach Agreement on Travel Protocols for Camps, Preseason

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2020

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Miami, the day after the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The NFL and NFL Players Association reportedly reached an agreement on travel protocols for training camp and the preseason, an important first step in ensuring players report when camps open July 28.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported the two sides came to an agreement on issues like "traveling by plane and bus, PPE use, disinfection of hotel rooms, airlines, buses, equipment, and luggage, rules for hotel employees and bus drivers, food service standards and physical distancing requirements."

The document "implies" there will be a preseason, but it does not specify how many games. The NFLPA has pushed for the league to eliminate the preseason over safety concerns. The NFL has already cut the first and last weeks of the four-week slate, along with the Hall of Fame Game, the traditional preseason opener.

Despite the two sides having four months to navigate the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears they have back themselves into a corner by hoping to play out the 2020 season under the status quo. The NFL has remained publicly confident it will be able to hold all 16 regular-season games with fans in the stands, though attendance—especially full attendance—seems highly unlikely with the pandemic still not under control.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the NFL and NFLPA have yet to have "meaningful dialogue" about the potential cancellation of games. The union has been intently focused on player safety, an issue it does not believe the league has taken seriously enough.

Union president JC Tretter posted on a blog Tuesday saying "the NFL is unwilling to prioritize player safety and believes that the virus will bend to football."

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The NFLPA Board of Player Representatives voted unanimously against playing any preseason games. 

"We will continue to hold the NFL accountable and demand that the league use data, science and the recommendations of its own medical experts to make decisions," the Cleveland Browns center wrote. "It has been clear for months that we need to find a way to fit football inside the world of coronavirus. Making decisions outside that lens is both dangerous and irresponsible."

While getting protocols into place is an important step, it's clear the union and league are still far apart on a number of issues that could put the 2020 season in jeopardy. 

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