The Las Vegas Raiders are getting ready for training camp, which is less than a month away. Even though the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus is still rather high, plenty of NFL players are eager to play amid the pandemic.
With new information regarding the spread of Covid-19 developing every day, the NFL has less than a month to figure out how training camp, and later, the regular season will unfold. The league has already cut down the number of preseason games from four to two. The NFLPA, the players union, is on the record saying they would prefer the preseason to be canceled. The president of the NFLPA, JC Tretter, has pointed out the issue is rather complex.
This situation is fluid and there will be new developments in the next few days. In the meantime, training camp, two preseason games, and the regular season are on track to happen. Regarding the risk of getting sick, some players may be more hesitant than others to play this upcoming season. Others may be more welcoming towards accepting the risk of contagion.
Where Do the Raiders Stand?
In a recent article, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal surveyed NFL players and executives. In his piece, he found out different opinions about everything that’s going on.
On one hand, Raiders cornerback Nevin Lawson prays conditions are good enough for players to take the field when the time comes. He’s unsure how things will play out but hopes everything works out.
I don’t know exactly how it’s going to play out. I just pray that players are able to stay safe, especially with their families.
Lawson knows the logistics behind the process will be hard to implement and follow. Especially because NFL teams will have between 75 and 90 players show up for training camp.
A football team is a very unique kind of team. It’s not just 15 or 20 players. Beginning in training camp, that’s 90 players, and that’s not even talking about all the staff that’s in and around the team. That’s a lot of people. So it’s going to be interesting to see how they’re going to manage that as far as keeping players safe.
Lawson wasn’t the only player Bonsignore talked to. He was able to talk to others and some NFL agents, but they did so under the condition of anonymity.
One prominent NFL agent confided to Bonsignore that some of his clients are eager to play.
My clients are not concerned at all and have been ready to get to work, rookies more so than veterans because they want to get paid. But I have yet to have a player say, ‘I’m worried about getting COVID-19.’ They want to play football and get the show on the road.
There’s evidence that indicates this agent is right. Plenty of Raiders players have gathered at a local park in Las Vegas to practice. Moreover, it isn’t just a discrete number of players, but rather a delegation of up to 30.
What’s at Stake for Players?
The NFL agent that talked to Bonsignore brought up a key point: Players want to get paid. For many of them, millions of dollars are at stake and may see getting sick as an inherent risk. One agent mentioned that for them to get a paycheck, they need to play, and for them to play, they need to be healthy. In turn, this could make them aware enough to take responsible health measures.
If they can realize that and connect those dots, that their actions outside the building are going to affect whether or not they’re going to get paychecks, it creates a situation of ‘OK guys, let’s have some self-control the next six months and quarantine yourself and be with your family and be as safe as possible.
Fans and football players alike want to have a football season. How things unfold remains to be seen. For the time being, everyone needs to take the appropriate measures in order for the odds of the season happening to increase.
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