NFLPA Worried About Opening Training Camps In Virus Hot Spots
The NFLPA is "questioning the viability of opening training camps this month in areas of the country experiencing explosive growth in the number of novel coronavirus cases," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. A source yesterday said, "We have one question that encapsulates it all: Does it make sense for the NFL to open up training camps in 'hot spot' cities right now?" Most teams are "scheduled to report to training camp July 28." The league has considered a variety of coronavirus-related contingencies but consistently has said that it is "planning to stage a full season beginning as scheduled Sept. 10, with teams playing games in their own stadiums." The source said that the league was "not giving consideration to postponing training camps or the season, adding that the NFL continues to do its best to remain optimistic that its protocols will allow camps and the season to take place." The source added the developments with some college conferences "don't bode well" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/15). In Miami, Beasley & Flechas wrote there is "no spot hotter than South Florida" when it comes to coronavirus cases. The league "insists it has not altered its plan ... but the Dolphins have communicated to their players that things could change" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/15).
HOT SPOT HAVENS: In Boston, Ben Volin noted the NFL's mission is to "turn stadiums and team facilities into a virus-free bubble," but that "could become increasingly difficult if they pandemic continues to rage outside their walls." The NFL "may be able to pull off its season if it can prevent an outbreak on a single team or position group," but if the virus is increasing in Tampa Bay, for instance, it "stands to reason that Buccaneer players will be more at risk of catching it." The virus' spread "makes it that much more important for players in hotbed cities to follow the rules and avoid going into public as much as possible." The NFL may have to get creative with contingency plans for this season, including the "option to move games to neutral sites, where the virus is more under control" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/15).
TOO EARLY TO TELL: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote if there is one thing this pandemic has proven, it is that "predicting anything two weeks out, let alone two months, is dangerous." Wetzel: "Things ebb and flow. Places that were once safe are now hotspots. And vice versa." Wetzel: "Can a single county, or a single outbreak in a single market, upend everything?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/14).