NFL Players Opting Out, Could College Players Begin Soon
This week multiple NFL players, including Tennessee Titans rookie first-round draft pick and former Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, opted-out of playing the 2020 season with fears over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those fears are justified, and it is up to every individual in all walks of life to decide what they will and will not risk during this uncertain time in our nation. I'm not judging here. It's not about anything other than how these men feel about the risk to themselves and their families.
We get it.
However, now that these NFL players are making these decisions, it seems likely that college players will soon follow their lead.
While the NCAA and the commissioners and athletic directors of Power Five conferences are hard at work attempting to implement safety protocols to protect players, coaches, and staff, there remains a risk of participating.
Michigan State recently quarantined their entire football team because of positive tests, and there is the now well-documented case of the Miami Marlins, who have been shut down as a team because of double-digit positive tests.
Young adults are often fearless and believe themselves to be invincible, and for some, there is no fear, only desire to return to the field and play the game they love. Others, however, might be leary of the risks involved.
There have been no reports of players on the collegiate level opting-out, but it's likely as the season draws ever closer, and a final decision is made to play that some will make a move.
Right now, any player who is considering the move has the advantage of waiting to see if their seasons are canceled for them before having to tell their teammates that they won't be part of the season.
It's a significant weight these young athletes are likely carrying between what's best for them individually and the loyalty they feel to their teammates.
It's the same thing for those making a move in the NFL, but there is a feeling of necessity for college players who have professional aspirations to play. NFL players are already there, and some have made their money and have nothing to prove.
I don't envy any of these individuals the decision they must make, and I support them whatever they do.