The NFL and its players have agreed on key health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, one day after some of the league’s most prominent names voiced their concerns over social media. NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Sportico that there were seven key issues the players and union needed to negotiate: education of players and families, safety inside club facilities, team travel, treatment response, the media, testing and screening, and gameday procedures.
The NFL also made an offer to the players of zero preseason games, one source explained, which would be a significant concession to the players, who have sought to reduce the number of preseason events in recent years.
The concession by the teams represents a significant step in both sides overcoming serious labor hurdles that could slow the start of a season. An NFLPA spokesman declined to comment.
A memo from the NFL to all clubs and obtained by Sportico also outlined the NFL’s testing protocols for training camps, which begin next week.
Players, the memo says, “will receive daily PCR virus testing for the first two weeks of training camp. After the first two weeks of Training Camp, if the percentage of positive tests (“positivity rate”) among Players and among all Tier 1 and Tier 2 Individuals for an individual Club for the first two week period was 5% or below, that club shall test Tier 1 and Tier 2 Individuals every other day.”
“Thereafter, each club (and the NFL) shall monitor its testing results and if an individual club’s positivity rate exceeds 5% (among Players and among all Tier 1 and Tier 2 Individuals) during any two week period,” the memo continues, “that club shall implement daily testing until such time as the two week positivity rate decreases to 5% or below. Tier 3 Individuals will receive PCR virus testing once a week for the duration of training camp.”