As previously discussed earlier today, the NFL and the NFLPA still have a lot of work to do before they can successfully iron out the plan put in place that will take the league into its 2020 season with both sides feeling comfortable about how the safety protocols have been negotiated.
For example, the NFL has previously sent out a proposed guideline that includes the suggestion that meetings be held outdoors at training camp when possible, while practicing social distancing. I’m sure a lot of you read that and thought to yourself, that sounds rather reasonable.
For the players union, it doesn’t go far enough. They made it clear to their constituents that the NFLPA never signed off on that guideline, and it is their recommendation that all meetings during training camp be held virtually, rather than in-person, limiting the time that anybody spends at the team facility and in contact with one another.
It should be noted that speaking it a common way of transmitting a virus, since particles will exit your mouth while speaking. The louder and greater emphasis you use while speaking, the greater the distance a particle of the virus may travel, limiting the effectiveness of distancing. This is why it has been recommended that churches not use choirs, as it can be a ‘superspreader’ event, even with masks.
While outdoors is safer than indoors, or at least it’s generally believed, one can still be at risk of contracting the virus, even while practicing reasonable social distancing, outside while speaking. The NFLPA is taking the stance that every effort should be made to reduce the risk where possible.
And from that perspective, it’s impossible to deny that they are right that virtual meetings are safer than in-person meetings. And given that meetings don’t consist of a physical component, there really isn’t any compelling reason that the meetings couldn’t be held virtually rather than in-person.
As a quick aside, it should be noted that the coaches ought to be concerned, I think. If the NFL has things the way that they want, they will have as much exposure to the players as the players, outside of actually playing, will have to one another. But there is no body speaking for them. Not the owners, not the players union. And they are far more likely to be in a demographic that is more inclined to be more susceptible to suffering extreme symptoms of the coronavirus.