Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has continued to ignore the NFLPA’s suggestions about offseason training.
And the union chief made it clear that he is not excited about Brady’s decision, for reasons that go beyond the players who are putting themselves at risk by meeting at one of the country’s largest COVID-19 hot spots.
“Those practices do not enhance the safety of the players,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in an interview with Mackenzie Salmon of USA Today. “They are not in the best interest of protecting our players who are going to the training ground. And I don’t think it is in our best interest to spend an entire season. “
Smith pointed to the current league-union discussions about workplace requirements, saying it was much more complicated than having a group of players do their thing.
“I certainly understand how competitive our players are and I understand that,” Smith said. “At the same time, we are in the process of trying to negotiate, we have to negotiate with the league what happens when a player tests positive during the season.” Is that player going to the injured reserve? Are they going to GO anytime soon? If the virus test is positive after training camp, is it a work-related injury? Are you covered by workers compensation? What benefits are available to you if you have subsequent injuries by contacting COVID-19?
“All the things that players may want to do during the offseason have a direct impact on how well we can negotiate protections for them once the season begins. We sent the guide because it was best for your health and safety interests. Let’s say that for some of the players who have practiced, we have made sure that they have heard the message. “
If Brady heard him, he doesn’t mind, sending another photo last week with the message: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Given the rapid spread of the virus in Florida and the increasing number of cases every time the players meet, along with the complications for the entire union that Smith mentioned, perhaps he should broaden the scope.