What Packers Players are Saying About Ongoing COVID-19 Disputes

Frustration is boiling over around the league about the NFL's handling of COVID-19 safety.

Training camp is scheduled to officially begin as soon as today for rookies of some teams around the NFL. The Packers' official start date is July 28. But right now, the prospect of football getting started on time (or even starting at all) appears to be in a precarious position.

We're in the final countdown to the supposed start of the 2020 season, but the league and the players' union still do not appear to have reached any sort of agreement regarding the kinds of pandemic-related protections that will be in place for the players. This despite the fact that the NFL has had ample amount of time to come up with a feasible plan, but has seemingly instead ignored the advice of its own health advisors.

The frustration of players around the league was palpable yesterday. Here's what current Packers or players with Packer ties are saying about the current state of negotiations.

The clock is ticking; the league already wasted the wealth of time it had to get a reasonable plan in place. Ultimately, if the league's owners are unwilling to listen to its own experts and implement appropriate safety conditions, then the 2020 season is more than likely going to be forfeit.

Realistically, there is no way to safely play football in 2020. But the players' message seems to be that they're willing to take a reasonable amount of risk to play the game, so long as the owners are willing to make reasonable safety accommodations. So far, the latter does not appear to be the case.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (31)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
ricky's picture

July 20, 2020 at 11:40 am

This is an attempt by the owners to at minimum reduce the power of the players, or, if possible, eliminate the power of the players. It worked when hockey just shut down for a year, and the fans came back, while the players power was vastly reduced. Union busting, in brief.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm

People are using the virus as an excuse to make people accept something they don’t want? I’m shocked.

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t-wrecks's picture

July 22, 2020 at 12:02 pm

It’s probably just pure incompetence.

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t-wrecks's picture

July 22, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Also, hockey starts back up in a week

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Samson's picture

July 20, 2020 at 12:02 pm

The players have a right to be concerned... However, I'm not sure that the NFL can create a 'safe haven' for the season to even exist.... Realistically, the virus is calling all the shots & will continue to call the shots until a viable vaccine exists & is widely distributed..... No matter what the self-appointed "doctors or virologists or uninformed politicians" post here or anywhere, the virus is real & running rampant through the entire world's population.

Just a simple question for the NFL... What if a team a few days before game 1 has 15-20 players on that team test positive?... Then what?

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Since'61's picture

July 20, 2020 at 12:12 pm

I’ve said from the beginning that I don’t see how they can play the season and as of this moment I still don’t. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Samson's picture

July 20, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Sadly, I have to agree... Too many in this country are still in denial about the transmissibility & severity of the virus.... As a result, these people aren't willing to make even the smallest of sacrifices to keep themselves & others safe. ---- The present generation would have never survived the Great Depression & WW2.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 20, 2020 at 08:18 pm

When will the Fans suit up?

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Since'61's picture

July 20, 2020 at 08:28 pm

Return of the replacement players. It didn’t work out very well the first time. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Bure9620's picture

July 20, 2020 at 01:11 pm

I think the NFL just believes the revenue simply outweighs other considerations.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 20, 2020 at 05:38 pm

I think your comment about the league offices perfectly explains the lack of a league stance. Not a good look from the NFL at all.

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nstewart1's picture

July 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm

What exactly do these players think is not being considered by the NFL?
Would it be safest to just skip the season, sure. Are THEY really prepared to not be paid for a year, I haven't seen that. Would they like to be paid and then not have to play, probably, but that doesn't seem like a convincing position.
$1+ Million and all the protections possible seems like a reasonable trade-off for the risk; maybe unless a player already has $10 Mil in the bank.
I'd assume players could opt-out, but without pay and with their contract just rolling-over for another year. They should be paid if "injured" by COVID-19, until they are recovered.

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Since'61's picture

July 20, 2020 at 01:00 pm

You may be forgetting that the players, coaches and staff could bring the virus home to their families as well. Also, I have yet to see how the league is going to address a player who tests positive after 2 teams play a game. Will all the players from both teams needs to quarantined for 2 weeks? If yes, what happens to the schedule? If no should the teams next opponents be exposed to COVID-19 during the next game?

What if multiple players become infected on multiple teams? Does the season end after a few games? It seems to me that the league and the players need to agree on some protocols for how to proceed if players become infected. Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 20, 2020 at 08:24 pm

Way too Logical '61, can't we find some conspiracy to point blame?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 20, 2020 at 02:38 pm

It's inexcusable for the NFL to not have published the exact protocols that will be in place.

MLB has.
NBA has.

These guys have a right to know with enough time to decide with their families if they agree with taking the risk whatever the protocols may be.

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dobber's picture

July 20, 2020 at 04:28 pm

We'll see how MLB fares...they can't get their players INTO their season: seems like another 3-4 test positive every day. Admittedly, they're carrying more than their norm for July in their summer camps, but imagine what it will be like with a contingent of 80-90 (including coaches and trainers) 20-30 year olds on the NFL bus. I don't know how you keep it out.

If there's a call for an opt-out (as some are talking about) we're looking at a season of preseason quality scab football.

In edit: here's a start.

https://www.profootballrumors.com/2020/07/nfl-to-conduct-daily-testing

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oceanstrength's picture

July 20, 2020 at 04:00 pm

And yet I hear not one single recomendation from any player. Thats the trouble in our culture today. We want solutions to problems from others that we can not even define. "We want to be safe"? what are the list of greivences and potential solutions?
You get paid to take risks like concussions and the crippling injuries like former players gimp around with. If you Do they really want to play? I there is only one way to prove that. Play.
Beacon of light? Right...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 20, 2020 at 05:54 pm

They are Football Players not Doctors. The protocol should be evidence based, not opinion based.

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PeteK's picture

July 21, 2020 at 08:41 am

The injuries do not affect their families physically , the virus does.

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johnburgoyne@ymail.com's picture

July 20, 2020 at 04:29 pm

NFL Players are a little spoiled and are using social media to politic. These guys are all millionaires and they are pressing for safer working conditions. What about all the EMT's and firefighters who are in a whole lot more dangerous situation. What about mail carriers and health care workers who are making a fractions of the average NFL players salary. They didn't threaten to not show up for work or lobby for safer working conditions.
They might be making 50K a year and they aren't demanding better working conditions. Come on guys, trust that your teams are protecting their multi million dollar players and get you butts back to work!

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 20, 2020 at 04:40 pm

You're comparing essential workers to athletes running into each other for your enjoyment. It doesn't matter how much money they're making. Why do people always bring that up? Their jobs aren't even remotely essential, so why should they "get their butts back to work" and risk infecting their families and loved ones?

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Oppy's picture

July 21, 2020 at 02:19 am

To entertain John, apparently.

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PeteK's picture

July 21, 2020 at 08:51 am

I fully respect and appreciate those workers, but they can take precautions and don't work in teams of dozens of people in close contact before, during , after their work. Come on people we all know this , why is there even a debate like wearing masks in stores. We follow TEAM sports ,but don't use that concept in our own lives.

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frankthefork's picture

July 20, 2020 at 04:59 pm

Rumor is NFL to test for first 2 weeks daily. That won't sit well with the players imo.
Until next year i guess; GPG!

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dobber's picture

July 20, 2020 at 06:37 pm

If it means that the players will collect their deals and there will be expanded rosters, I think most will be on board. They aren't going to be testing for pot or other drugs.

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scullyitsme's picture

July 20, 2020 at 07:44 pm

If I was a player and had millions in the bank I doubt I’d want to play. Not really for my self but I’d hate to be the one bringing it hone to my kids/wife etc. a one percent chance someone in my family getting sick/ dying is 1 percent too many. Top that with the I’d be the one responsible? No thanks.

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DennisGreenBay's picture

July 20, 2020 at 11:18 pm

An excellent question posed above. What if right before game day one team has 10 or 15 players test positive? Will the game go forward? Will they be allowed to promote all of their taxi squad players to fill in the gaps? What if they’re starting quarterback and the second string quarterback both test positive? Will they still be required to play the game knowing that they have zero chance of winning? How can that be fair?

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PeteK's picture

July 21, 2020 at 12:24 pm

It will be like everything in 2020, strange. We need to roll with the punches and stop expecting normalcy. Just imagine what WW2 must have been like. In due time we will survive and it will be a rallying cry for this generation.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 20, 2020 at 11:21 pm

ESPN is reporting that the owners have offered to scrap all the remaining preseason games and an institute testing protocol. No word from the union and no word on what the owners want in return. This is way late with rookies suppose to report next week, and then returning veterans the week after that. Owners really SNAFU this one. In Reality, they got about 37 days to get this right. Yeah I know. Good luck with that...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 21, 2020 at 02:47 am

Nothing getting done until there is a deadline is nothing new. I have almost no idea about what the NFL offered or what the Union demanded. Daily testing should have been in the initial offer and probably for the duration of TC.

I have no idea about where the NFL departed from the recommendations of its own safety experts. Might be in areas the teams feel some practice is necessary despite heightened safety concerns, such as padded practices. But IDK, and few others seem to, either.

Since I lack almost all data necessary to form an opinion other than a rooted dislike for Goodell and some fond memories of JC Tretter, I don't really have an opinion.

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Wildcomet's picture

July 21, 2020 at 06:45 am

If regular testing is the owners "giving in" then I can imagine why they players have complaints. Beyond that I don't know enough to have a firm opinion on this one.

Something I think the league should consider borrowing from the XFL that could help was the "Team 9" concept they had, basically a league-run practice squad teams could pull from if players test positive shortly before gameday.

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