COVID-19 and Football: NFLPA Reports 72 Positive Tests, Opt-Out Option, College Football's Power 5 Plan, More

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COVID-19 and Football: NFLPA Reports 72 Positive Tests, Opt-Out Option, College Football’s Power 5 Plan, More

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NFL training camps are scheduled to open in 11 days, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present itself as something the league must conquer before seriously getting into things. Let’s discuss.


An update from the NFLPA reveals that 72 players tested positive for coronavirus as of July 10, according to the NFLPA’s database. Even though the NFLPA did not announce how many players were tested, let’s try and put that number in perspective.

If each of the NFL’s 32 teams was carrying a full 90-player roster, we would be looking at a field of 2,880 players. In that case, 72 players testing positive for the coronavirus would represent 2.5 percent of the league’s player work force. But because not every team is operating with a 90-player squad, there is a chance this estimated number could be a tick higher.

In addition to making this data public on its website, the NFLPA page is an information hub for players to learn about returning to football, testing, protocols, and more. That seems helpful! It also shares a market-by-market map to show how the virus has spread.

Here’s a look at that hot spot map:

The south, southeast, and southwest have their work cutout for them.


When we last did one of these posts, we highlighted perspective from San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould, who shed some light on issues players are facing as we near training camp.

Now, here’s an update from JJ Watt:

It’s inexcusable to keep the players in the dark like this, and that we have another player speaking up about it isn’t a great look for the league. Again, I understood not mapping out concrete plans in early March. Back then, time was on the NFL’s side. That is no longer the case. I fear that things will get worse if it turns out the league didn’t make good on its vague references to having contingency plans.

Even though there is much to be agreed upon between the NFLPA and the league, rookies on Watt’s Texans team (and those on the Chiefs) have been instructed to report for training camp on Monday.


In early July, a report surfaced that “a few dozen” NFL players were reportedly considering opting out of the 2020 season. It got us wondering if the NFL even planned for that possibility. More than two weeks later, we have an update:

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero tweets an important piece of the NFL’s proposal for play in 2020 includes an opt-out option. The opt out would come with a written notice and would be due by August 1. Don’t get me wrong. I like that the NFL has offered up an option for players to not play football during the midst of a pandemic. However, I feel as if setting a hard date that is more than a month before the season begins doesn’t fully have the players’ best interest in mind. And while I understand why teams would want to know who is “in” or “out” sooner, rather than later, player health and safety should be a priority.


I have my doubts about a college football season being played in 2020. But for what it’s worth, the Power 5 conferences — Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12, and SEC — have a plan.

Check it out:


And yes, I read the comments from LSU Head Coach Ed Oregon about needing to play football. That the state of Louisiana needs it. So does the country. And that the coronavirus is something that can be handled. He also added this: “I don’t think we can take this away from our players, take this away from our state and our country. We need football. Football is the lifeblood of our country.”

Alright, I get it. I understand his perspective as a coach. I fully expect a coach to say that the show must go on and that games must be played. And I understand the idea that this country certainly could use a distraction. But there is no game that is the “lifeblood” of the country. If you’re a coach who doesn’t want the game taken away from players, push for elected officials to take things seriously — especially in a state like Louisiana were confirmed coronavirus cases are reportedly among the fastest growing per capita across the country. Coaches often talk about doing the right things as leaders of men. Now is the time to turn that talk into action.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.