The NFLPA doesn’t want players to hold workouts with teammates as coronavirus numbers increase across the country, but some prominent players aren’t listening. In the days after the NFLPA advised players to stop working out together, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson have all defied that recommendation.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith isn’t pleased. Smith, 56, reiterated the NFLPA’s position to USA Today, saying “those practices are not in the best interest of player safety.”
Smith said he understood why players wanted to keep getting in work with teammates, but felt those practices are putting the season at risk. Smith also explained how those workouts could negatively affect the union. By working out now, players are making it more difficult for the union to do its job.
“If you test positive for the virus after training camp, is that a work-related injury?” Smith asked. “Are you covered under worker’s comp? What benefits are available to you if you have downstream injuries from contacting COVID-19?
“All of 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 starts.”
Smith added that all of the players who have engaged in workouts following the NFLPA’s recommendation have “heard the message.”
It’s unclear whether the union or the league will do much to stop those workouts. The league hasn’t issued penalties for players engaging in workouts, and the union isn’t going to punish members.
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