One bit of news that came out yesterday in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s strongly-worded letter seemed to somewhat quietly slip under the radar, and that is the fact that the league and the union agreed to further modifications to the Covid-19 addendum to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, modifications that will affect all 32 teams, and not just those who are dealing with positive cases.
The commissioners sent out a member yesterday to all 32 teams in order to provide them with something of a reminder of the necessity of complete adherence to the Covid-19 protocols, and to issue a warning that failure to comply could result in rather harsh discipline, extending so far as to reach the level of game forfeiture.
The NFL, of course, wants to avoid this if at all possible, which is precisely why it is taking the step now to beef up the protocols even further, taking additional steps in an effort to provide more coverage and protection against the spread of the virus than before. The memo reads in part, regarding the changes:
These changes include a longer onboarding process for free agent tryouts, bans on gatherings outside of the club facility, limitations on the number of tryouts permitted per week, and implementation of a league-wide video monitoring system to ensure compliance with the protocols—particularly the mandate that all staff and players wear PPE while in a club facility and on travel at all times.
NFL now has wrapped up today’s COVID “accountability, learnings and requirements” conference call with all teams. Here’s the memo that went out to all teams: pic.twitter.com/tfassYNSJA
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 5, 2020
After The Tennessee Titans experienced an outbreak, the league announced an addendum that included some of these changes that would apply to such teams, such as the banning out gatherings outside of the team facility. Now it is being implemented leaguewide.
Other changes have been considered and are recommend for teams to follow, the league asking teams to hold all meetings virtually if possible, to wear masks and shields even during practice sessions, decreasing the size of the team’s traveling party, reducing time spent in communal areas, and reviewing the proximity tracking data on a daily basis in order to analyze ways to reduce frequent close-contact areas or activities.
These are smart and sensible modifications and suggestions that should benefit the league and reduce the risk of their experiencing a second outbreak, though no strategy is truly foolproof. It all comes down to personal responsibility in the end and trusting every individual involved in the functioning of the season to keep themselves as safe as possible throughout this process—which is a fool’s errand.