Although a date has been agreed upon, how exactly training camp will work is still being discussed. Currently, negotiations for camp protocols to ensure the safety of players and their staff are being held. As reported above, a shorter preseason is expected. Additionally, the wearing of a protective face mask, whether made from N95 or surgical materials is being discussed to go along with the already implemented ban on team and player travel between facilities before the season. The NFL has already told teams to tarp off the first 6-8 rows in the stadium, so I would not expect any fans or non-team personnel to be allowed to attend training camp this year, or even to be allowed on training facility premises. As for ticket holders in the first 6-8 rows, refunds or alternative measures have not been released, but surely are being discussed.
“To all players: Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts. Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months. We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season and believe that it is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before training camp commences. Stay safe.”
The director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stated that he believes, that, “unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community, and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”
The NFLPA will do whatever can be done to ensure the safety of all players. The president of the NFLPA, Cleveland Browns center, J.C. Tretter, recently spoke on Sirius XM NFL Radio about the real dangers that COVID-19 brings to the NFL and how he felt that football was virtually the perfect way to pass the infectious disease to other players.
“This is a game that is almost built to pass this virus. In the trenches, pretty much every play you’re getting someone who spits on your face when you’re offensive/defensive lineman. You’re a foot away from each other all the time. You’re almost having to rethink everything you’re doing on the field and how you can keep players safe.”
Tretter earlier stated during a press conference in late May, that the main priority is the health and the safety of the players.
“Our priority is always going to be the health and safety of the players. Usually, when you say that, it is things that will happen on the field. Obviously, that takes a new meaning with everything going on now where you talk about the health and safety of the players is you are talking about their own personal health. That is always going to be the top priority for us. There is probably not one, two, or five things. There is a long list of hurdles we have to get over and things we have to watch and check. We just continually seek out information to be informed. This virus is constantly changing and the information you are getting is constantly changing. We have stayed really up to date with everything and made sure that we are always looking through the lens of how do we keep our players safe and healthy, as well as their families.”
With the first game of the NFL preseason less than two months away on August 8, the NFL and the NFLPA will have their work cut out for them for the preseason and for the season to kick off on time. As for how many fans will be allowed to attend games this season, who knows as it has not been stated at this point; however, it is certainly on the NFL and the NFLPA’s To-Do List.