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Covid-19 Memorandum Lays Out ‘High Risk’ Activities For Which Players Can Be Disciplined This Season

The NFL stands for the National Football League, but it has informally been said to stand for other things as well. Not For Long is one, a reference to the fact that the average length of career for an NFL player is not particularly long. No Fun League is another, usually made in reference to the league fining players for this or that, particularly celebrations.

For the 2020 season, it will really be the No Fun League for players, as a memorandum sent out to players yesterday laying out 2020 CBA Covid-19 amendments now formally dictates social behavior that players can be disciplined for in various ways if they are caught engaging in such activities.

Specifically, the list bars participation in ‘high risk’ activities, including indoor nightclubs, bars for anything other than picking up food, indoor house parties with more than15 people, other indoor events such as concerts or sporting events, and religious services that contain greater than 25 percent capacity.

This universal agreement does not appear to allow for regional reflexivity, as different areas around the country have different regulations pertaining to what is allowed. Some areas, for example, might allow a larger number of attendees for events, such has a church service.

But, of course, these are the NFL’s rules about behaviors that it wants players to avoid, and it was agreed upon by the union, and passed 29-3 by the union representatives, so there is no debate. These are the conditions that will be in effect for their social lives during the 2020 season.

Generally, the only major thing that a team might do for a player caught engaging in this behavior is to issue them a fine for conduct detrimental to the team. However, this could have lingering repercussions, as it could also void guarantees in their contracts, thereby making it much easier to release them.

Additionally, a player caught engaging in high-risk activity who later becomes infected will allow his team to challenge his status as a non-football-related injury, which would mean that they are not required to pay him for the time that he misses, which would be the case if he were infected without engaging in high-risk activity. Preliminarily, at least. It specifically says in the memorandum that the issue ‘remains open’.

Overall, however, I believe that these compromises are pretty reasonable and sensible. Given the circumstances, teams should have a reasonable expectation that their players will not unnecessarily jeopardize not just their health, but their status, because if they engage in a high-risk activity, they will be forced to be placed under quarantine, and thus would be made unavailable for likely at least a game or two.

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