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Lately, most of the news regarding the NFL has been regarding players’ decisions to kneel during the national anthem.
But behind the scenes, amidst the COVID pandemic, the NFL and the NFL Players Association have been in negotiation over the activities players will be allowed to participate in while the pandemic rages on.
Now, the two sides have come to an agreement.
The new deal prohibits players from participating in certain activities while they remain under contract.
Among the banned activities?
Night clubs, bars, and large parties.
NBC Sports reports the full story right here:
With the NFL and NFL Players Association striking a historic, on-the-fly CBA that covers 2020 and beyond, the two sides have come up with a way to ensure that players will practice personal responsibility in a pandemic.
Per multiple sources, the deal specifically prohibits players from engaging in certain behaviors this season. Players cannot attend indoor night clubs, indoor bars (except to pickup food), indoor house parties (with 15 or more people), indoor concerts, professional sporting events, or indoor church services that allow attendance above 25 percent of capacity.
Players can be fined for violating these rules. Moreover, if they test positive after engaging in prohibited activities, they will not be paid for the games they miss. Also, future guarantees in their contracts would be voided.
It will be interesting to see how teams enforce the rules. Some may use security officials to monitor local establishments or to track the behavior of players. Others may rely on contacts within the community to contact the team if/when violations are witnessed. Some may set up an NBA-style tip line.
As one source said on Saturday morning, “Every player should delete social media.”
Maybe this while largely be a good thing for the NFL.
Many players in the past have drawn criticism for their party lifestyles.
However, it speaks volumes that players will be banned from many church services, but are seemingly allowed to attend large protests.
It goes along with the unfortunate portrayal by the mainstream media and liberals that church services are hotbeds of coronavirus infection, while left-wing protests are apparently safe.
Take a look at what’s trending on Twitter on the NFL:
What's even more interesting is that the NFL is apparently worried that many players will opt out of playing due to COVID concerns.
Yahoo Sports reports on the NFL's concerns:
The NFL is reportedly concerned with players taking advantage of the opt out policy, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.<p content='As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, players have the ability to opt out of the 2020 season. Players who opt out will receive $350,000 if the league determines that player is high risk for the virus. Other players will make $150,000 if they opt out. A number of NFL players, including Dont’a Hightower and C.J. Mosley, have already exercised that right.' data-reactid="17" type="text">As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, players have the ability to opt out of the 2020 season. Players who opt out will receive $350,000 if the league determines that player is high risk for the virus. Other players will make $150,000 if they opt out. A number of NFL players, including Dont’a Hightower and C.J. Mosley, have already exercised that right.
The league reportedly fears players who will be cut will opt out of the season so they can receive a stipend, according to Florio. The league is also fearful agents are using the opt out as a way to secure better contracts for their clients.<p content='The deadline for players to opt out was supposed to be seven days after the altered CBA was ratified, but that still hasn’t been done yet. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the opt out date will be moved to Wednesday.' data-reactid="23" type="text">The deadline for players to opt out was supposed to be seven days after the altered CBA was ratified, but that still hasn’t been done yet. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the opt out date will be moved to Wednesday.
Players who fear getting cut could opt out in an attempt to secure a salary, but that strategy comes with a significant caveat. Players who opt out but don’t make the team next season will reportedly have to pay that stipend back, making it unlikely that the strategy works. NFL teams reportedly don’t want to chase down players for that stipend, but if the Detroit Lions showed us anything with both Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, NFL teams might ask any players to pay them back.
Agents using the opt out clause as leverage is certainly a concern for teams, though not much different than holdouts or other contract-related issues teams face every offseason. If agents threaten their clients will sit out unless offered a new contract, NFL teams know how to handle that situation.
Watch NBC Sports news report on players choosing to opt-out of the season right here: