It’s no doubt an unusual time for the NFL, which finds itself and its players in the middle of a national conversation that extends far beyond the football field. Let’s check up on everything going on both on and off the field in the NFL this week.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees finds himself as persona non grata in the hearts of some of his fellow NFL players these days. Brees gave an interview with Yahoo! Finance in which he said that he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag,” referencing protests led by Colin Kaepernick a few years ago that involved him and other NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
That statement from Brees has been met with fierce backlash from certain players and fans. While some have defended Brees, LeBron James and Ed Reed were among the athletes to condemn his comments, holding little back in believing Brees’ comments were tone-deaf.
Leader of the Pack
Meanwhile, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a different stance, posting on social media that “It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag.” That message was posted along with a picture of Rodgers and his Green Bay teammates locking arms before a game. Rodgers added that people should “listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action.”
When Will It Begin?
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of national protests is the fact that the NFL is trying to plan for a season that is likely to happen during a pandemic. The latest reports indicate that players won’t be returning to team facilities until the start of training camp. Most teams have been able to open their facilities.
However, only essential employees and players recovering from injuries have been allowed to enter. Along those same lines, the NFL says that teams will have to use their main practice facilities for training camp this year.
Last year, 10 teams held camp away from their normal practice facility, including some who do it every year. The NFL has also banned joint practices between teams, which has become another common practice during the preseason.
Give It Back
The NFL has said they expect to have fans in stadiums this season amidst the pandemic. However, if games are played in empty stadiums, the league could ask players for a reduction in salary to account for less revenue.
The alternative would be a drastic reduction in the salary cap for the 2021 season to offset the lost revenue. Nothing is for certain, but if there are no fans in attendance, the league will at least mention the idea of salary cuts in 2020 rather than waiting for next year for a dramatic fallout.
It turns out that Tim Jernigan won’t be playing with the Houston Texans this season. Jernigan reportedly agreed to a deal with Houston on a one-year contract worth $3.75 million earlier this offseason.
However, Jernigan announced on Instagram this week that the deal is off. Injuries have limited Jernigan to just 13 games over the last two seasons with the Eagles. While he didn’t give a reason why he won’t be joining the Texans, Jernigan indicated that his career isn’t over, meaning he’s still available on the free-agent market.
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