Buccaneers news: Donovan Smith speaks out on health risks NFL return
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Donovan Smith speaks out on health concerns amid NFL return

At least one member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is justifiably concerned about his safety as the NFL attempts to return to football activities in the wake of rising coronavirus cases across the country.

On Friday, Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith expressed apprehensions about him and his family’s health if he enters a training camp environment in Florida—a Covid-19 hotspot.

“The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “Football is not one. To continue discussing the many UNKNOWNS do not give me the comfort. Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking.”

“With my first child due in 3 weeks, I can’t help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80+ people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter. How can a sport that requires physical contact on every snap and transferral of all types of bodily fluid EVERY SINGLE PLAY practice safe social distancing? How can I make sure that I don’t bring COVID-19 back to my household?” he added.

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@nfl @nflpa To whom it may concern: With the start of the 2020 NFL season fast approaching, many thoughts and questions roam my mind as I’m sure it does for many of my fellow “coworkers” across the league. The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things. Football is not one. To continue discussing the many UNKNOWNS do not give me the comfort. Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking. With my first child due in 3 weeks, I can’t help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80+ people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter. How can a sport that requires physical contact on every snap and transferral of all types of bodily fluid EVERY SINGLE PLAY practice safe social distancing? How can I make sure that I don’t bring COVID-19 back to my household? Yes, we can get tested everyday, but if it takes 24 hours to get my results, how can I know each day that I am not spreading this virus or contracting it? The reoccurring issue here is how? There are too many “hows” that have yet to be answered to ease player concerns and ensure the safety of not only myself, but also my family. I just can’t imagine how the game will be the same during these unprecedented times. Now to hear that 35% of my paycheck may be withheld while we are out sacrificing our health and wellness for the joy and entertainment of everyone else who will be safe at home in front of their TVs? Something isn’t right here. That should at LEAST warrant a pay raise due to the risk, not a cut. I am not a lab rat or guinea pig to test theories on. I am a man, a son, brother, soon to be father, and I deserve to be safe at work.

A post shared by Donovan Smith (@dsmith_76) on

The Buccaneers left tackle also voiced strong opposition to the NFL’s proposal to escrow 35% of player salaries until 2021 to account for an expected loss of revenue this season.

“35% of my paycheck may be withheld while we are out sacrificing our health and wellness for the joy and entertainment of everyone else who will be safe at home in front of their TVs? Something isn’t right here. That should at LEAST warrant a pay raise due to the risk, not a cut. I am not a lab rat or guinea pig to test theories on. I am a man, a son, brother, soon to be father, and I deserve to be safe at work.”

Many of Smith’s teammates, on the other hand, seemingly aren’t as concerned, despite the fact that multiple members of the Bucs organization have contracted the virus.

Quarterback Tom Brady recently led a series of workouts in Tampa with his new teammates in proud defiance (while shilling an unapproved supplement) of the NFLPA’s public health expert’s memo discouraging players from holding group sessions.