New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said the risk surrounding the coronavirus “has to really be removed” before he gets comfortable playing again this season.
Jenkins, a 12-year veteran and member of the executive committee of the NFL Players Association, appeared on CNN Thursday morning in his new role as a network contributor.
RIGHT NOW: “Soccer is a non-essential business and therefore we don’t need to do it. So the risk, you know, has to really be removed before us, before I feel comfortable going back.”
Saints @MalcolmJenkins concerned about return to playpic.twitter.com/onBcvBo3qa
– John Berman (@JohnBerman) June 25, 2020
Jenkins described soccer as a “non-essential business”. And he noted that “the NBA is very different from the NFL because they can quarantine all their players or whoever is going to participate.”
“We have over 2,000 players, even more coaches and staff. We can’t do that,” said Jenkins. “So we will end up being something like this trust system, the honor system, where we just have to wait for the boys to be socially estranged and things like that. And that puts us all at risk, not just us as players and who is in the building, but when you go home to your families, you know, I have parents who don’t want to get sick.
“And I think until we get to the point where we have established protocols, and until we get to a place as a country where we feel safe to do so, we have to understand that football is a non-essential business. And we don’t do it” no it is necessary to do it. So the risk has to really be removed before we, before me, feel comfortable going back. “
The NFL is scheduled to hold a conference call Thursday with team owners to inform them of plans to reopen the facility amid coronavirus restrictions, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. And the Pro Football Hall of Fame game, which was scheduled to start the preseason schedule on August 6 in Canton, Ohio, has been canceled.
Beyond that, the NFL has continued to plan a full season, although it is not yet known whether the training camps will open as scheduled for July 28.
The landscape is constantly changing as other sports leagues have begun returning to work, with increasing reports of players testing positive for coronavirus in various sports.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, one of the highest-profile players known to have contracted coronavirus, also acknowledged that he was concerned about the safety of the players when the NFL returns.
“I feel like there are a lot of moving parts that need to be solved,” Elliott said in a Twitch broadcast. “I just don’t know how they can keep the players [healthy]. You have to put the health of the players first.
“And it’s not even that much, I would say, the health of the players, because I got the crown, and it didn’t really affect me much. But many people have children, they can have children with asthma; they can have newborn babies; their parents or grandparents They can live with them … We have to find ways to make sure that the players and their families, and also the coaches and their families, are not at risk.
“Hey, I hope we play. I want you to know: I hope we have a season. But it has to be right. It has to … we have to put the health of the players and the coaches and the support. Personal first. I think that is important. “