Dozens of NFL players call on league to address COVID-19 concerns ahead of training
© Getty

Dozens of National Football League (NFL) players on Sunday requested the league address health concerns and follow expert guidelines ahead of training camps later this month.

Several NFL players took to Twitter, using the hashtag “#WeWantToPlay” to call out the league for its lack of preparation to return for the season this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Among the participants in the Twitter campaign were Russell Wilson, J.C. Tretter, Drew Brees and J.J. Watt. 

Rookies are scheduled to report to training camps on Tuesday, but the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs rookies are scheduled to start on July 20, as they play the season opener.

ADVERTISEMENT

J.C. Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association, posted that the players were “standing up for each other … to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

“The NFL needs to listen to our union and adopt the experts’ recommendations,” Tretter, who plays center for the Cleveland Browns, posted accompanied with the hashtag “#wewanttoplay.”

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also expressed his concern, noting that his wife is pregnant.

“There’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety,” he posted. “We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones. #WeWantToPlay.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Anthony Hitchens, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, joined the campaign, tweeting a photo of his family, along with the text: “If I get the virus at work and I unknowingly pass it to my wife and kids, will the @NFL cover medical cost?”

J.J. Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, released a list of what players “know and don’t know” ahead of training. The unknowns include whether daily testing will occur, how a positive COVID-19 case will be handled or whether an opt-out clause for players who are at high risk or who have family members at high risk of serious illness from the virus.  

Several other players, including New Orleans Saints safety Malcom Jenkins, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and Houston Texas wide receiver Randall Cobb blasted the league for not following the recommendations of health experts that it hired.

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees also posted, saying, “If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple.”

As of Friday, 65 NFL players have a known positive test of COVID-19, according to the Players Association’s website

The NFL schedule has quarterbacks and injured players returning Thursday, and all other players going to training on July 28. The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs will follow a slightly different schedule.