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How would you react if a Lions player decided not to play in 2020?
As the NFL and NFL Players Association continues to negotiate the medical and contractual specifics of navigating a 2020 season in the midst of a pandemic, we are slowly inching closer to a potential resolution.
One of the interesting options that is being discussed—and will almost certainly be adopted—is an opt-out clause for players that are not willing to take the medical risk of playing football this year . It’s unclear how the financial side of this decision would play out, but the general idea is that players who are at a higher risk, have loved ones at a higher risk or players that simply did not feel comfortable playing could sit out a season, as long as they notify the team by a certain date.
It’s unclear how many player will utilize this option, but based on the general public reaction from players, agents and coaches, it will likely be seldomly used.
However, don’t be surprised to see a handful of players decide it’s not worth it.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Would you be mad if a Lions player opted out of playing the 2020 season?
My answer: Of course not. This is uncharted times for the NFL and this country, and there is no language in current NFL contracts about playing through a pandemic. Whether it’s because of their own medical condition or that of a family member, health should come first with all of these players. And while playing football comes with its own laundry list of health risks, COVID-19 remains a relatively unknown threat.
Even if a player had no pre-existing conditions, I would respect their decision to skip out on the season. That is their decision to make, and while it may make the Lions worse, that should not be the priority.
Of course it would suck if someone like Matthew Stafford decided to sit the season, but with a newborn in house, and a wife who went through brain surgery less than two years ago, no could blame him.
So, no, I won’t be mad if a Lions player opts out of the 2020 season. I don’t want to hear anything like “you signed a contract” or “put the team above yourself.” These are different times, and health should come first.