Public fallout between the NFL and its players is continuing to heat up with Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson calling out both the league and the Players Association on Wednesday for a lack of “safety” and “financial” guarantees despite training camp scheduled to start in just a few weeks.
The Super Bowl champ posted a long message to Instagram voicing his strong feelings condemning the NFL and NFLPA for their handling of the new season amid a pandemic.
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“It is unacceptable and utterly disrespectful for the owners to have set a camp start date of July 28, 2020, with no safety/ financial guarantee agreed upon for us as players, the backbone of this industry,” his caption read. “Today is July 8 and we have no answers to simple questions we’ve been asking since this pandemic started.”
Trouble began over the preseason schedule last week when the NFLPA voted unanimously to recommend that the league cancel preseason all together just days after the NFL agreed to cancel the first and last games of preseason.
“Despite these experts’ assessment that teams face a serious risk of player-injury spikes this year (based on past NFL data and recent findings from sports leagues that have already returned to play this year), the NFL is unwilling to prioritize player safety and believes that the virus will bend to football,” NFLPA president JC Tretter wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
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Things continued to heat up when reports emerged Wednesday that the NFL proposed holding 35 percent of players' salaries in escrow for the revenue lost because of the impact of COVID-19.
“Lol everyone will sit out and not play until they get their stuff together before we do this,” New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas said in a tweet. The NFLPA also shot the offer down.
“We (players) are sons,fathers & brothers wanting to protect our families during this unprecedented time,” Jackson said in his post. “As Pro-Athletes we are willing and able juggle. Juggle the risk that our careers bring, the stress of the game on our minds and bodies and most important making sure we don’t neglect our families. Now, you want us to weigh putting food on the table the best way we know how which we could potentially catching the killer virus and bring it home or starve.”
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Jackson finished his plea for action by pointing out that owners, who are more than likely high-risk because of their age, won’t be out on the field with the team and should understand the risk the players are taking.
“I ask in this moment you see us as people, not financial burdens or roster spots. Health is wealth for both parties.”