The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) recently struck between the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) forbids players from a host of activities, including attending indoor church services that exceed 25% capacity.
According to several sources who spoke to NBC Sports, the CBA also prohibits other things that could expose players to COVID-19, such as attending indoor night clubs, indoor house parties with more than 15 people, indoor concerts, and professional sporting events. Trips to any indoor bar are allowed only to pick up to-go food.
Players who violate the CBA’s rules will expose themselves to fines, and if they contract the virus by engaging in prohibited activities, they will not be paid any games they miss and could void future guarantees in their contracts.
The CBA passed last week after the players’ board of representatives approved it by a vote of 29-3. Among its other stipulations, players considered at high risk for COVID-19 can earn $350,000 if they opt out of the 2020 season, which begins Sept. 10. Players without risk can earn $150,000.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and more than 20 others have so far chosen to opt out of playing this year, according to ESPN.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement:
The NFL clubs and the NFL Players Association approved an agreement that broadly resolves all outstanding issues relating to the opening of training camps and start of the 2020 season. Training camps will begin as scheduled. We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel. These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials. The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl.
According to an NFLPA database, 107 NFL players have tested positive for COVID-19 during the offseason, as of July 28. Since players began to report for training camps, 21 have tested positive.
According to the same database, a market-by-market analysis of cities where NFL has training camps shows that Miami ranks highest in the number of coronavirus cases over the past 14 days, with 79.86 daily cases per 100,000 people. At the low end of the spectrum are the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, whose metropolitan statistical areas have less than four daily cases per 100,000 people.
According to ESPN, the Buffalo Bills sent their rookies home Thursday after five players tested positive for the coronavirus. “As we were informed by medical experts as training camp opened, we expected to have positive tests for COVID,” the team said in a statement. “With 5 since the beginning of the testing period last Tuesday, we decided to take a disciplined, proactive and preventative approach to hopefully eliminate additional cases within our team.”
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