The NFL and NFLPA find themselves in a delicate situation right now. Both organizations are keen to go ahead with the 2020 season as scheduled. However, the finer details are yet to be agreed upon by both parties involved.
There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding player safety, salary cuts, and revenue setbacks. In addition to that, it is still unclear if fans will be permitted inside stadiums this year.
All these issues could affect the pre-season preparation that is scheduled to start on August 6, 2020. However, there is a certain group of players that are reluctant to step onto the training ground.
One of them is highly-rated Houston Texans’ defensive end, JJ Watt.
JJ Watt was drafted by the Texans in 2011. He’s been a crucial cog in the Texans’ defensive machine ever since he left a mark in his rookie year.
However, the ongoing Coronavirus situation might see Watt skip the 2020 season altogether. While talking to Pro Football Network this week, Watt spoke about his concerns with NFL’s new face shields for players.
“My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet. I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off I’m gonna die out here.’
“So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field,” Watt said.
The 31-year old is the focal point of the Texans’ defensive line. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award thrice in the past. He is also a five-time Pro Bowl team member. His absence in the league this year will definitely hit Houston hard.
It is clear that NFL players will not be playing in the league this year if they feel that they will be putting the safety of their families at risk.
However, NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills, wants the NFL to set an example by mitigating any risks surrounding the virus. “I think this is important not just for the NFL or for professional sports — not even for sports at all levels.
“I think what we are trying to do — which is to find a way to mitigate risk and to coexist with this virus — this is really key information for schools, for businesses, for all segments of society.
“I think we have a unique opportunity but also a responsibility to use the platform and resources of the NFL to really study and learn and to take that knowledge and apply it for the benefit of the other segments of the society. That is what we plan to do,” Sills told the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.