While negotiations between the NFL and NFL Players Association continues, and medical experts try to guide both public and private policy across the United States, the league continues to prepare like the season will begin on time. With the start of training camp still scheduled for just two weeks from today, the NFL is full-speed ahead.
And while many continue to doubt the viability of a full NFL season, player agents remain incredibly optimistic about the 2020 year.
The Athletic published an extremely interesting story, gauging the thoughts and opinions of 30 NFL agents on topics like COVID-19, Colin Kaepernick, the most trustworthy NFL general managers and much more. It’s a fascinating read, but one of the more enlightening parts of the story was the overwhelming optimism regarding the status of the 2020 season.
When asked “Do you think the regular season starts on time?” here were the responses:
- 22 - “Decent chance”
- 5 - “Absolutely”
- 3 - “No way”
- 0 - “It never happens”
That’s a firm 90 percent that believe the NFL will start on time—which, as a reminder, is just over eight weeks away.
It’s one thing to start a season, but many are concerned that a single outbreak in the NFL could derail an entire season and cause a disruption or complete stoppage in play. But, again, NFL agents remain fairly hopeful.
To the question: “Do you think the NFL plays a full season?” (asked on June 30), the responses were:
- 15 - Yes
- 6 - No
The agent responses were all anonymous to protect themselves and the players they represent, but here are a couple of noteworthy comments from some of these agents.
“You’ll see a revolving door of free-agent players being signed and cut on a weekly basis. Too much money at stake for NFL teams.”
“When it comes to real games and owners losing money, they’re not going to let (games be canceled). And they don’t care about the gate receipts. The gate receipts don’t mean shit to them.”
“Starts and stops. Ten to 12 games.”
If you read the entire article, it becomes clear that these agents come from varying political backgrounds with varying degrees of concern for their own health and the health of their clients in the middle of this pandemic. Take, for example, these two varying opinions on the seriousness of COVID-19.
“If not an election year, this would be handled differently. Shutting down parts of society, taking (fun) outlets away crushed people. When do we get back to normal? Because this isn’t normal and I refuse to live like this forever, wearing masks, no shaking hands.”
“I think that whenever you have rich White men in power and a bunch of young predominantly Black people, the rich White men don’t necessarily care about the well-being of those young Black men. And you see that in the country and you’re going to see that in the NFL. So they’ll play, I would imagine. Camp will open on time. Cases will explode. And then we’ll probably get shut down mid-August. And then I definitely feel the season is in jeopardy.”
Obviously none of these agents are necessarily medical professionals, but they’ve likely been in contact with both players and league executives. So their insight, while far from definitive, is certainly interesting.
Catch the entire article from The Athletic here. It’s worth your time (and your subscription).