Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, D'onta Hightower Among Season Opt Outs
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a starting guard for the Kansas City Chiefs and a Super Bowl champion. He's also a doctor who has spent his offseason fighting COVID-19 in his hometown of Montreal, and because of that experience he has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season.
"Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system," Duvernay-Tardif said in a statement on Twitter. "I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients."
Duvernay-Tardif, a sixth-round draft pick in 2014, has started each of his 44 games in the past four seasons. He has also missed 20 games due to injury, but he was on the field for every offensive snap in Kansas City's three playoff wins last year.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, players who voluntarily opt out of the season will receive a $150,000 salary advance and their contract will toll as well; in Duvernay-Tardif's case, his $2.8-million base salary in 2020 will instead be paid in 2021, minus $150,000. Players have one more week, until July 31, to decide whether or not to opt out.
Duvernay-Tardif was the first, but very much not the last. A number of other players have also opted out voluntarily, including the following:
BAL WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas
DAL CB Maurice Canady
NE OL Marcus Cannon
NE FB Danny Vitale
SEA OL Chance Warmack
WAS DE Caleb Brantley
Brantley is notable as the first player to opt out under the "high risk" provision, for players who fall into one of the categories defined as high risk in the NFL's agreement. This category includes asthmatics, diabetics, cancer survivors, and players with sickle cell trait. These players receive $350,000 in salary instead of the usual $150,000, and others are expected to follow Brantley's lead.
The deadline for players to opt out voluntarily is August 1.
Patriots linebacker D'onta Hightower becomes the highest profile name to opt out for the 2020 season. Along with right tackle Marcus Cannon (high risk), safety Patrick Chung, and running back Brandon Bolden, that makes six different Patriots players so far.
Other major names opting out this morning include Eddie Goldman of Chicago and Star Lotulelei of Buffalo.
Today's major names were Giants OT Nate Solder and Chiefs RB Damien Williams.
ESPN is keeping a full list of opt outs here.
88 comments, Last at 05 Aug 2020, 9:33pm
#6 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jul 25, 2020 - 12:08pm
Went to college at McGill in Canada. I expect the coaches there actually prioritise their students studying.
- He balanced university football with medical school, prolonging his studies over eight years. In a 2014 article in Sports Illustrated, Joan Niesen said that he "was practicing just once a week—and he was still the best college (sic) player in Canada."
- Duvernay-Tardif is the fourth NFL player to have graduated from medical school, and as of the 2018 season, the only active player. He graduated from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in May 2018 with a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery (M.D., Ch.M.). He primarily studied during the off-season prior to mandatory off-season workouts. He had the support of the Chiefs coaching staff, especially head coach Andy Reid, whose mother also graduated from McGill's medical school. He has not completed any postgraduate medical training.
Well done that man
#7 by theslothook // Jul 25, 2020 - 12:51pm
I'd still like to understand the logistics of it. To echo Noah's point, being a medical student canabolizes all of your waking moments. I wasn't alive when my mother was in medical school, but I certainly heard plenty of horror stories growing up. This might make some sense if the two disciplines had some overlap, but they are as divergent as it gets. Not sure how this is even possible.
#14 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jul 25, 2020 - 10:21pm
My understanding is that he has his degree, but has not completed his residency, and therefore is not qualified to practice medicine.
He's working as an orderly, not as a doctor, if I understand correctly.
#18 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 27, 2020 - 8:59am
He has a doctorate (maybe, see below). He is not practicing medicine. He has not completed residency (which is the role that's really impossible to juggle with living) and is not licensed.
McGill's program description is confusing, referring to it as an undergraduate curriculum, but an entrance requirement for Anglo-Canadians is a bachelor-level degree. Arguably, three years with one year being clerkship is really a master's-level degree anyway. Medicine and the Law abuse the doctorate definition pretty badly.
#88 by rpwong // Aug 05, 2020 - 9:33pm
Doctor of Medicine (MD) is an undergraduate program in Canada, but as you say it requires that students already have a bachelor degree (I work at a university in Canada). Same goes for a Juris Doctor law degree.
#8 by Joey-Harringto… // Jul 25, 2020 - 1:04pm
Zach Zenner was accepted to med school after college, but deferred when he made the Lion's roster as an undrafted rookie in 2015. He has plans to go back to med school now that his NFL career appears to be over.
About 10 years ago, the hospital I trained at was interviewing a batch of soon to be graduating medical residents for fellowship training, and I was tasked taking them around for a tour. One of them played offensive tackle in college (I forget which one), and was a late round draft pick by the Rams in the mid-2000s'. He blew out is knee in training camp, which killed his chance of making the roster. Rather than rehabbing and trying again the following season, he applied to med school and got in. I remember that people found it quite humorous to see me leading around a group of interviewees in suits, with one of them being a hulking brute who barely fit into his suit, towering over everyone else.
#9 by theslothook // Jul 25, 2020 - 1:23pm
But were any of these people being medical students while being in the NFL?
I consider my job rather stressful and demanding and I would consider it unbelievable if someone told me they were simultaneously a full time professional athlete. Being a physician would appear unthinkable.
#13 by herewegobrowni… // Jul 25, 2020 - 8:46pm
Different NFL culture and circumstances, but Dick Ambrose, who has become a distinguished local attorney and county judge, went to Cleveland State's law school in the evenings while he was with the Browns in the 1980s.
He kept it a secret from them because as a bubble player he knew they wanted his "undivided attention." It being there was no internet to speak of back then, probably very few people knew of it anyway.
#19 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 27, 2020 - 9:58am
John Urschel was getting his PhD in mathematics while playing for the Ravens.
A few players have gotten JDs while still playing. Whizzer White was a member of SCOTUS and Alan Page was on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
#75 by RobotBoy // Jul 30, 2020 - 2:41am
Milt Played for the 49ers and went to med school at the same time! (Some little known joint called Standford). He'd go to practice at seven or eight a.m., be out by 4 and then spend the rest of the day on medicine. Getting to the Super Bowl was a huge problem for him because he missed a ton of classes.
What's even crazier is that his dad, Bill McColl, did the exact same thing with the Bears.
#20 by Richie // Jul 27, 2020 - 7:04pm
HBO's Real Sports has done two profiles of him over the past couple years. He's an interesting guy from an interesting family. I think he spent years(?) of his childhood sailing around the world with his family.
#12 by Stendhal1 // Jul 25, 2020 - 7:14pm
...could be Bryce Love. Per an excellent 2017 article Bryce wanted to be a doctor growing up, and worked very successfully in medical research while at Stanford.
In NFL history, there’s also most recent Browns championship quarterback / ace mathematician Dr. Frank Ryan.
#23 by dryheat // Jul 28, 2020 - 8:42am
He was the first one I thought of, with Myron Rolle second, although Rolle wasn't a highly-regarded prospect.
Smith is interesting, in that even when he was at Ohio St, he had a well-formulated plan to play football for a small number of years -- maybe one contract -- and then head to med school.
#26 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 28, 2020 - 10:13am
He was until it became obvious he was serious about pursuing his Rhodes Scholarship.
He was considered a first-round guy before that.
Because being a coke addict shows dedication, whereas going to Oxford is team-corrupting me-firstism.
Granted, more owners are coke addicts than Oxford grads.
#28 by GwillyGecko // Jul 28, 2020 - 11:37am
Rolle entered the draft in 2010 after he was done studying at Oxford. He was picked in round 6, and was on the Titans in 2010-2011 and in camp for Pittsburgh in 2012 and never appeared in a game. If he had been good enough he would have played.
#17 by andrew // Jul 26, 2020 - 5:27pm
Ages ago and not the same thing but Gary Cuozzo had a DDS while playing quarterback though he never amounted to that much on the field, was several time put in situations where he was expected to take over and never quite pulled it off. He went on to run a successful orthodontics practice for decades after retiring from football.
#25 by sbond101 // Jul 28, 2020 - 10:09am
"It's going to be an even weirder season for NE (if there will be one)."
I wonder if it's going to be this way for all the teams and the Pats are just some of the first to annouce; regardless if it goes ahead it will be one of the strangest enviroments in which to coach we have ever seen. It makes me deeply curious to see how BB & co. react. I think teams like NO, GB, & KC that have continuity and/or a streetball feel on offense will be at an advantage.
#58 by sbond101 // Jul 28, 2020 - 4:07pm
In some ways - if it's like the MLB season there will be some games randomly rescheduled/cancelled which will lead to some pretty crazy scheduling outcomes and perhaps some very strange tie-breakers. between that and whatever the roster rules end up being this will be a really unique experience.
#29 by dryheat // Jul 28, 2020 - 11:56am
Add Patrick Chung.
And the McCourty twins have publicly debated not playing this offseason. The entire defense could need replacing.
Of course, I think there's a very small chance there will be a recognizable brand of NFL football in 2020, so it likely won't matter.
#44 by dryheat // Jul 28, 2020 - 2:06pm
That's a weird comment. I think Gronk is a certifiable genius. He's probably the best self-marketer in the NFL, and apparently has every dollar he's made playing football banked. Hernandez was no dummy either. Many other things, sure, but you can't get away with doing what he did for so long being stupid.
#76 by RobotBoy // Jul 30, 2020 - 2:51am
Although coming back to the NFL might have me changing my mind.
I agree that Hernandez wasn't stupid either. It was much worse than that. There is little that damns footballs as much as the analysis of his brain tissue. The researcher said it was the 'most damage her team had seen in an athlete so young,' and that, '...they had never seen such severe damage in a brain younger than 46 years old.'
#79 by sbond101 // Jul 30, 2020 - 11:14am
Come on - the statement that it's 100% from playing in the NFL should just be taken at face value... it's not like that assumption radically increases the value of an ongoing legal claim.
Also, doctors would never apply motivated reasoning when assessing autopsy reports, we all know that having an MD renders someone instantly a paragon of moral virtue.
#84 by herewegobrowni… // Jul 30, 2020 - 10:59pm
Tyler Sash and Jovan Belcher* were comparable young deaths, and Hernandez was apparently a lot more severe than either.
*Yes, they specifically noted, apparently, that they were able to isolate CTE-only brain tissue from gunshot wounds.
#82 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Jul 30, 2020 - 10:08pm
"Although coming back to the NFL might have me changing my mind."
I would be astounded if Gronk ever plays a down for Tampa. Astounded. Gronk signed at almost exactly the time it became obvious that this was going to be a gigantic shitshow and the United States wasn't going to handle it properly.
I'm like half convinced he signed for free money.
#59 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jul 28, 2020 - 4:15pm
NE's top players are generally older and have SB rings. With financial and professional success already banked, it has to be a little easier to give this year a miss.
Then on top of that, once one player opts out, it's a lot easier for teammates to do so, too.
The big interest for me is whether any other "clusters" like this occur, or will it end up being only a NE thing?
#33 by MilkmanDanimal // Jul 28, 2020 - 12:34pm
Does anybody actually really believe there's going to be a season at all anyways? I mean, baseball is a sport with highly limited physical contact between players, and games are already being canceled right at the start of the season. The NBA and NHL bubbles are amusing ideas at best, and are entirely reliant on players staying in the bubble and not doing stupid things. The NFL? Huge rosters, constant physical contact, everybody breathing on each other . . . why would anyone think there's a season? I mean, this isn't like European soccer, where intelligent and sane attempts were made to bring COVID under control prior to starting up sports leagues; this is running rampant through the US, and teams are stocked in hot spots like CA, TX, AZ, FL, and GA, and there is still literally nothing vaguely resembling a plan to combat this in even the minimally rational of ways.
I commend all these players for being smart enough to stay the hell out of practices and not getting infected before it all gets canceled anyways.
#35 by PatsFan // Jul 28, 2020 - 12:39pm
Also, the banned activities are hilarious. For example, players aren't allowed to go to house parties of 15 or more. Which means plenty of them will be going to 14-person house parties.
It's going to be a debacle that'll make MLB look good.
Personally, I hope enough players opt out that the NFL will be forced to cancel the season or have it be a mockery.
#36 by Noahrk // Jul 28, 2020 - 12:56pm
Absolutely, hence my comment about Pat's players being smart. I know they're going to test like crazy, but the issue is the sensitivity of the tests is not such that you can detect an infection right after it happened. The virus needs to build up before you can detect it.
In a world that's been paralyzed by a virus, the idea that the country with one of the worst responses is going to able to pull something like this off is straight out of Disney Land.
#39 by MilkmanDanimal // Jul 28, 2020 - 1:20pm
But I don't think the season is canceled initially; there's too much money and too many pig-headed, delusional owners who are going to try to force this to go forward. Add in the fact that being a professional athlete frequently leads to that feeling that you're immortal and nothing can touch you, and plenty of players are going to play. Then there will be outbreaks, and some of them will die, or, at best, wind up on ventilators and have lifelong, debilitating conditions that will ruin their career and quality of life.
Allow me to be really excited that the Vikings moved their shiny new HQ to my suburb and put it about five miles from my house, so, once practices kick off, they'll get to spread COVID around my town like they were firing it from a fire hose.
#47 by Purds // Jul 28, 2020 - 2:29pm
This is not to take a side for either of you, but it is amazing to me how different people perceive the threat of COVID. Yesterday I was in a Zoom meeting with a colleague talking about the fall school year, and he said, "Do you know anyone who has had COVID 19? I haven't!" My response: "My sister, my brother in law, my niece -- my best friend from high school, his wife, his son -- my wife's grandmother ..." This colleague and I life within 1/2 mile of each other. Our sense of the threat is much different. (PS: all COVID positive friends are alive, even the 98-year-old grandmother, though some are having lasting remifications)
#51 by MilkmanDanimal // Jul 28, 2020 - 3:06pm
Calming down is asinine; we are living in the midst of the largest global health crisis in a century, and live in a country where the decisions being made are guaranteed to make things worse. This is without exaggeration one of the great American tragedies, and, presuming some of these idiots force schools open, that one case? It will grow. Keeping cases down is easy when you are in a place respecting socially distancing and not congregating. I'm in Minnesota, and we've had a sane response and comparably very few cases, but if schools open? That changes. There was a Saturday a few weeks ago where the state of Florida had more cases in one day than South Korea has had since the pandemic started. Opening up and pretending the world is normal means we all get 100% ICUs, refrigerated trailers outside hospitals to add additional morgue space, and thousands of cases.
Opening up football season is an overt attempt to pretend things are normal, and if things are normal enough to play football, they're normal enough to open bars and restaurants, send kids to school, and pack people back together. It's a highly symbolic act and astoundingly irresponsible, and it does not happen in a vacuum. If football starts, other things start, and the kinds of things that have happened across the southern states will easily move around the country.
#63 by raregokus // Jul 29, 2020 - 6:35am
Empathy is a hell of a drug. You should try it sometime.
This virus may not be impacting your life to a significant extent, but it has devastated communities across the country and the world. Please think about that before making callous comments such as this.
#70 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 29, 2020 - 12:14pm
I'm not the one castigating others for proceeding as though the end of days is not upon us.
I mean, despite this deep and significant trauma, we're still wasting business hours on a sports fan site.
#62 by Will Allen // Jul 29, 2020 - 2:05am
Florida still has fewer deaths per 100k than Minnesota. That will change pretty soon, but the degree to which people attribute each state's metrics to each state's public policies and/or politicians is kind of ridiculous. My simple test is this. If somebody can give me an empirically sound theory, one that we should have confidence in, as to why Germany has its Covid death rate, while the combined populations of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands has its Covid death rate, then I'll think someone has a good handle on causality with regard to the spread of this virus. I've not come across that person yet.
#64 by sbond101 // Jul 29, 2020 - 8:21am
"If somebody can give me an empirically sound theory, one that we should have confidence in, as to why Germany has its Covid death rate, while the combined populations of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands has its Covid death rate, then I'll think someone has a good handle on causality with regard to the spread of this virus." - This is right, but incomplete. There are two layers - causality for morbity & mortality, and causality for spread.
On the first layer - causaity for M&M - we actually have a pretty good handle on why different jurisdictions that had wide community spread faired differently and it is primarily related to the effectiveness of measures to protect the elderly (who represent the majority of the M&M, despite beign a small minority of cases). The contrasting examples are the north east (where nursing home policy was disasterous) vs. the southeast where the M&M is much less.
On the second layer there is now good evidence that a large perportion of the population carries t-cell immunity from previous corona virus (COVID-Other) exposure. In samples from the UK 40%-60% had existing t-cell immunity to COVID-19. As the research in this area progresses it represents a very likely explanation for a great deal of the epedemiological facts on the ground in terms of radically disparete impacts on communities that should have had similar initial exposure (e.g. Germany vs. The Netherlands). We still need more facts (about immunity) and ideally we would get more facts about seeding (unlikely) in order to fully explain the disperity in spread between jurisdicitions with virtually identical policies & public behavior.
#65 by Will Allen // Jul 29, 2020 - 9:12am
Thanks. In other words, differing existing t-cell immunity percentages in populations explains a good chunk of the differences in spread of the virus. Does anybody have any sense of whether there is significant variability among regions in the U.S., in terms of t-cell immunity, and if so, what they may be? I have a guess that weather plays a role; that is, weather which encourages people to congregate inside forced air spaces (like 110 degrees in Phoenix) spreads the virus as well; I wonder if overlaying those two variables and looking a subsequent spread rates might be illuminating.
#66 by sbond101 // Jul 29, 2020 - 9:37am
"Does anybody have any sense of whether there is significant variability among regions in the U.S., in terms of t-cell immunity, and if so, what they may be?"
There definately are regional differences because we know other corona viruses spread in regional patterns; but as we don't know what Corona virus's solicit t-cell reactivity to COVID-19, and i'm not aware of any large scale t-cell studies in the US yet we don't know what they are.
"weather which encourages people to congregate inside forced air spaces (like 110 degrees in Phoenix) spreads the virus as well"
This is one of the great controversies of the epidemiology of this virus - whether it spreads via small-droplet infection (and therefore in AC and with little/no regard for mask use). For what it's worth all the models I've seen assume small droplet infaection is a thing (and therefore masks don't work) both indoors in AC and outdoors at night (i.e. among protesting crowds). These models have fairly accurately predicted spread in countries that matter for the purposes of hedge-fund investing (and more importantly for their purpose, government response).
#67 by Will Allen // Jul 29, 2020 - 10:10am
My guess at the outset was that people should be encouraged to be outdoors in daylight as much as possible to conduct their lives, and avoid, as much as possible, being close to large numbers of people indoors or at night. I think public policies are somewhat overrated, in terms of impact (nursing home policies being the exception), but a larger emphasis on changing our lifestyles to spend significantly greater time outdoors in the daylight may have been useful, even just in terms of people being more willing to cooperate with public policies. So much general hostility preexisted the pandemic, however, and really had we in the United States poorly situated to respond optimally.
#68 by sbond101 // Jul 29, 2020 - 10:29am
"I think public policies are somewhat overrated" - to clarify, I meant that the models I've worked with accurately predicted public policy responses and that it is the actual target of said models because of the impact of that policy on the financial markets (i.e. if your job is to predict relative stock performance of McDonalds compared to Nike predicting public policy is more important than predicting how many people will get sick/die).
#69 by ChrisS // Jul 29, 2020 - 11:19am
An interesting study about masks potentially protecting the wearer might shed some light on infection/mortality variances
"One recent model showed that population-level masking is one of the most efficacious interventions to reduce further spread of SARS-CoV-2, allowing for less-stringent lock-down requirements in countries adopting this strategy. Countries worldwide have had a range of responses to the recommendation on universal masking, with many countries (and some U.S. states) issuing mandates. Countries accustomed to universal population-level masking since the SARS epidemic in 2003 adopted the intervention more readily. There are two likely reasons for the effectiveness of facial masks: The first - to prevent thespread of viral particles from asymptomatic individuals to others - has received a great deal of attention. However, the second theory- that reducing the inoculum of virus to which a mask-wearer is exposed will result in milder disease -has received less attention and is the focus of our perspective."
#71 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 29, 2020 - 12:18pm
I have a guess that weather plays a role; that is, weather which encourages people to congregate inside forced air spaces (like 110 degrees in Phoenix) spreads the virus as well
This is the irony of asking people to shelter in their homes. Coronaviruses love the indoors.
#49 by Richie // Jul 28, 2020 - 2:41pm
Genuine question: have any of the athletes who have so far tested positive even had to be admitted to a hospital yet? This virus seems to most impact those people who are already suffering some sort of physical limitation. So I think it's unlikely that NFL players will have significant symptoms.
#54 by ChrisS // Jul 28, 2020 - 3:37pm
From an article about Olympic Rowers: "Regan, 32, said it took her a month to feel back to normal after she fell ill. More than three months later, she is still trying to get back into competitive shape, she said. That level of fitness was extremely high: Regan is a four-time world champion in her ninth year on the national team." & "For more than a week, Chase was sidelined in her host family’s house, barely able to even leave her bedroom. She said she couldn’t remember the last time she went eight days without working out. The team usually trains for four to seven hours a day, including two or three separate sessions. “One day I tried to go for a walk and I made it maybe 30 seconds out the door before turning around,” she said. “I just couldn’t do it. The sun hurt my eyes so much that I couldn’t take it.”"
#72 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 29, 2020 - 12:19pm
That's a reversible loss of training fitness, though; not long-term morbidity.
You would get something similar from whooping cough, which is seriously obnoxious for about six weeks, followed by about the same period to make up lost ground (useful for cutting weight and building abdominal musculature, though). Pertussis has an adult mortality and long-term morbidity of essentially zero, though.
#86 by sbond101 // Jul 31, 2020 - 11:19am
Agreed - the minor corrective being that a significant number of virus's have long term and recurrent effects (e.g. varicella-zoster virus which causes chicken-pox but can reactivate to cause shingles). The fact that this virus has been in human populations for < 1 year suggests that any assessment of it's chronic effects is speculative. Equally, organ damage (from any source) is often permanent.
That said, there are no known chronic/reactivation effects of any other Corona virus. It seems very reasonable to assume that there won't be such effect. Equally organ damage from COVID-19 seems to be limited to the tiny subset of the population that goes into cytokine storm as a consequence of infection. We shall see.
#60 by dank067 // Jul 28, 2020 - 9:38pm
Would add that one of the Red Sox starting pitchers (Eduardo Rodriguez) contracted COVID around the Fourth of July, and while he has long since tested negative, he hasn't been able to return to the team yet due to myocarditis which appears to have stemmed from the disease. Seems that a lot is still not known about seriousness and length of complications, even for athletes.
#52 by JIPanick // Jul 28, 2020 - 3:15pm
I wouldn't find it hard to believe Belichick is behind this, but you don't need to be a "3D chessmaster" for either of the following scenarios:
- "If you're going to opt out, no problem, but please tell us now so we can plan accordingly."
- "The organization has no problem with you electing not to take any chances you aren't comfortable with."
The football benefits of the former are obvious.
The latter hurts this season but helps with talent attraction/retention in the long term, and the Patriots seem to usually take the long view. Besides that, you could make the case it's the moral option regardless of practical football benefits & it's not impossible that Belichick is encouraging his guys to prioritize not catching the Corona without figuring out he'll come out ahead on-field for it.
#43 by Will Allen // Jul 28, 2020 - 2:04pm
Even a mid November start is viable for the NFL, maybe 1st weekend in December if you shorten the schedule to 12 games. They really ought to announce a tentative 1st weekend in October start right now, and just keep pushing it back as developments demand. Anybody making confident predictions about what conditions will prevail in 30, 60, or 90 days is being foolish. They don't need to start in September, and they should have conceded that 3 weeks ago.
#56 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 28, 2020 - 3:44pm
1982-1983 pulled off a 9 game schedule.
That would basically be 6 games H/A against your division opponents, and 1 each against your conference aligners.
If you did 10, you could do 6 games H/A against your division opponents, and either 1 each against your conference aligners (Eagles-Packers-Saints-49ers) and 1 against your opposite-conference division equivalent (Eagles-Patriots, Cowboys-Bills, etc), or 1 each against your opposite conference division equivalent (NFC East vs AFC East, etc).
#45 by theslothook // Jul 28, 2020 - 2:07pm
Contrary to others, I am a bit surprised so many players are opting out. 350K or whatever is a lot of money to you or me, but for guys like Hightower and Cannon, it looks like a significant pay cut. And as others have pointed out, Covid seems less damaging to an athlete's health than a concussions, torn ligaments, and other horrible injuries that are out there. I am not blaming them mind you, its in fact very honorable they are doing it, just surprised that they are.
I think having an NFL season without a bubble posses a significant health concern. We've banned mass gatherings for a reason, but the NFL is pretending that a game is not a mass gathering if there are no fans. Um...you have huge rosters and massive support staffs and there is travel involved. Sure you could in theory social distance and test but whos going to enforce that and how do we even know players will truly isolate as the hilarious example above about 14 person house parties(does the pizza delivery guy who steps through the front door count then as 15?)
There's a lot of money at stake for a lot of people with power(do you think Disney will exert influence on this?) but it doesn't change the fact that its a public health concern that affects the entire country, most of whom do not watch football and do not receive a dime in revenue.
#46 by dryheat // Jul 28, 2020 - 2:28pm
While concussions, torn ligaments, and other injuries are indeed more damaging to an athlete's health than Covid, they are not more damaging to an athlete's family's health than Covid. Most people who have been educated about Covid-19 get this.
So they get enough money to pay the bills, and the contract tolls for a year. In the case of an older vet or non-estabished player, they may not get the money back, but I think it's a pretty good deal for most.
#57 by sbond101 // Jul 28, 2020 - 4:00pm
I think there is a perception around the league that "it's not the years, it's the millage" - in other words that skipping a year of football will have the effect of lengthening their career by a year on the other end, and that the cap will continue to rise so it's probably a long-term financial benefit as long as the perception of the skipping the year doesn't harm a players reputation.
I'm frankly shocked that football isn't sufficiently self-selecting for risk-phillic people that there is a willingness even to be perceived as opting out because of risk. My guess is the pro-risk attitude also means veterans are willing to gamble on the growth of the league post-COVID (a risky proposition for certain).