NFL offers NFLPA ‘zero preseason games’
The NFL appears to be acquiescing to an NFLPA demand to reduce the total preseason games to zero.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the league proposed no preseason games to the players union.
Per source, the league today offered the union zero preseason games. A big step.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 20, 2020
Previously in the offseason, the NFL already reduced the number of preseason exhibition contests from four to two. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the players association desired to eliminate preseason games entirely in order to further limit contact between players and teams. Prior to today’s developments, the league had planned to implement guidelines to prevent contact outside of the game of football, including banning postseason jersey swaps between players of different teams.
While the NFL is seemingly the professional sports league least affected by COVID-19, due to the fall and winter seasonal sport, the league may be still unprepared to handle the public health crisis in the United States because of the very nature of the contact sport. In recent days, there has been a suddenly strong push for improved health and safety protocols from players, buoyed by three-time Defensive Player of the Year and Houston Texans star defensive end, JJ Watt.
Today’s report of the league listening to the NFLPA and supposedly ending any preseason games in 2020 may be an answer to multiple players taking to social media to demand greater security measures in the lead-up to the regular season.
The coronavirus pandemic may also impact the league’s revenue, given that states have varied planed in permitting fans to attend mass gatherings vis a vis NFL stadiums. Without fans in attendance or with a capped number of fans, COVID-19 may hit franchises’ bank balance hard, too, along with players and staff closely monitoring symptoms of the virus.