It is now clear why one of the main issues in the discussions between the NFL and the players union was the possibility that the guilds would stay out of the next campaign.
More than thirty players have already quit playing the 2020 season in the NFL. And in no way is it because of the money, because those who make that decision receive a stipend of $ 150,000.
The number increases to 350,000 if the player in question has medical conditions that would put him at greater risk if he contracted the coronavirus.
But in either case, the compensations are far from the amounts usually received in the NFL.
So the decisions are motivated by health and safety, of the players and their families.
New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower is perhaps the most prominent player who has decided not to play next season, for reasons he explained in a statement on social media.
« I do feel this is the best decision at the moment for my family, » Hightower said. « I am very grateful with this sport, with my teammates and also with the coaches, and I will try to continue leading and helping in whatever way I can, but 2020 has been a challenging year for our world.
“I hope that everyone can continue to be a light in these dark times. Let there be more light and may great times come. ”
For now, the number of campaign resignations has been higher in the NFL than in other sports. In the major leagues and in the NBA, there were just a dozen players who chose not to return this year. The ice hockey league had half that number.
The best-known names included Buster Posey and David Price in baseball; Avery Bradley in basketball, as well as Travis Hamonic and Mike Green in the NHL.
In the NFL, the number seems poised to outperform all other leagues combined. Privately, some NFL executives have expressed surprise at this.
On Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, key to his coronation in the last Super Bowl, warned that he will not play.
In a sport where physical contact abounds and where payrolls tend to be the same in size as baseball, basketball and hockey combined, the possibility of playing within a “bubble” was not weighed much.
Thus, it seems logical the decision of the players who have preferred to be mere spectators from home.
« We did know that this was a possibility, » Ben Watson, the union’s vice president, said in remarks to the SiriusXM NFL satellite radio station. « That’s why the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) fought so hard to give the boys the option. We are in a time when people do not have answers for many things.
“Everyone faces different situations, perhaps contractual, perhaps because of the people they live with. There are boys who live outside the area and have to travel back home. There are many different reasons for this, and I think we will find more of this as time goes by. ”