Buccaneer quarterback Tom Brady continued to dismiss the NFLPA’s suggestions for off-season training.
And the union leader made it clear that he is not thrilled by Brady’s decision, for reasons beyond the players who are putting themselves at risk by joining one of the country’s largest COVID-19 hotspots.
“Such practices are not in the best interest for player safety“NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in an interview with Mackenzie Salmon of USA today. “I’m not in the best interest of protecting our players who head to the training camp. And I don’t think they are in the best interest of us as we go through an entire season.”
Smith stressed the ongoing discussions between the league and the union about workplace requirements, saying it was much more complicated than the issue of a group of players doing their own thing.
“I certainly understand how competitive our players are and I understand it,” said Smith. “At the same time, we are trying to negotiate, we have to negotiate with the league what happens when a player proves positive during the season. Does that player go to the wound reserve? Do they go short term in IR? If you test positive after the training camp, is it an accident at work? Are you covered by comp workers? What are the benefits for you in case of injury downstream from contact with COVID-19?
“All the things players might want to do during the off season have a direct impact on how we can negotiate protections for them once the season has started. We sent the guide because it was in their best health and safety interests. Let’s just say for some of the players who trained, we made sure they listened to the message. “
If Brady had heard it, he would not have cared, last week he would have sent another photo with the message: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.
Considering the rapid spread of the virus in Florida and the growing number of cases each time players get together – along with complications for the entire union mentioned by Smith – perhaps it should broaden the scope.