The NFL Is Blowing Its Chance at a Smooth Return to Play

NFL logo, AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs
NFL logo, AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs / Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The NFL has had months to work out protocols and safety guidelines to govern the opening of training camps and the 2020 season. The league has completely blown that cushion.

Training camps are close to opening and the NFL still does not have a clear plan in place to keep its players safe. On Sunday, the players fought back, taking to Twitter to express their disappointment as part of a massive tweetstorm.

ESPN's Adam Schefter highlighted some of the tweets from prominent players:

J.J. Watt pointed out the issues the players are facing right now:

NFLPA president J.C. Tretter said the NFL needs to follow the recommendations of experts and partner with the union to keep players safe:

This could have -- and should have -- been worked out months ago. The coronavirus shut down sports back in March, it's now the middle of July and the NFL has wasted all that time doing precisely nothing. We're less than two months from opening night and the league still doesn't have an agreement on safety protocols for players. That's insane.

What have Roger Goodell and the owners been doing for the past 130 days since sports stopped? Even if you give them the benefit of the doubt and say free agency and the offseason were the focus for a while, the draft ended on April 25. That gave them 85 days to focus on and solve these problems but ... nope.

NFL players are expected to report to training camps on July 28, with rookies reporting this week. Despite those days rapidly approaching, players don't seem to think their concerns are being heeded by the league:

If the NFL can't agree to the players' demands as far as safety goes, how can it expect to play games? The players are taking all the risk, the least the league can do is allay their safety concerns. Providing a detailed plan for a safe work environment is the requirement of every business in this country. If NFL can't do that there is no reason for the players to begin the season.

This process has already been a colossal failure by the NFL to leave these details to just before training camps start. Something has to change quickly or we could see the start of the season delayed.