Number of NFL referees opting out of 2020 season, revealed
A number of players have opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It appears there are even some officials that have chose not to take part in this year’s festivities.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, seven officials are reportedly set to take a leave of absence for the 2020 campaign:
Five on-field officials and two replay officials have taken a leave of absence for the 2020 NFL season, per sources.
None of the on-field officials are referees. A relatively small number opting out overall.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 14, 2020
Officials that opted out will still receive a stipend and some job security for the 2021 NFL season (via Pelissero).
The deadline for officials to opt out based on concerns about COVID-19 was Thursday, under a deal between the NFL and NFLRA. Those who took a leave of absence will receive a $30,000 stipend and guaranteed job protection that they may return for the 2021 season.
The NFL is fortunate that only a small amount of officials have decided to sit out this year. They should still have more than enough personnel to go around without having to consider using potential replacements to make it through the year.
Regardless, the report just goes to show that players are not the only ones with concerns. Staff have also had to abide by the same strict safety protocols that were established by the NFL and NFLPA. Unfortunately, it appears the risk involved was too much for them to take a chance on developing any symptoms and bringing it home.
The deadline to opt out may have passed, however, the NFL may want to consider a new course of action since it is highly likely that there will continue to be new cases of COVID-19 occurring throughout the season.