Some of the National Football League’s top superstars hosted a Twitter flash on Sunday as league brass continue to share sharing COVID-19 contingency plans for the 2020/2021 season.
Tweets started popping up Sunday afternoon where they all had this simple hashtag: #WeWantToPlay. While the tone of the tweets varies from player to player, the overriding concern shared by all those sent is summed up in hashtags – the will have to play. They just are not sure that it will actually be safe.
The Twitter action appears to be a coordinated effort led by the NFL Player’s Association. NFLPA President JC Tretter made it clear where the players’ association stands in a statement shared on Twitter.
On the more prevalent tweets, from the Houston Texans defensive end, JJ Watt offers some details on how exactly the league is failing its players. There has been very little communication about how some of the major issues will be addressed prior to and entering the 2020/2021 season in the midst of a global pandemic.
The timing of this Twitter campaign is particularly remarkable. As Watt himself notes, some members of the league are expected to sign up for training camp as early as July 20, the day after the tweets campaign started.
Once again in the interest of keeping everyone (players and fans) as informed as possible, here is an updated list of what we as players know and do not know as the first group will be set to report for training camp tomorrow.#WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/xQcjs33zgM
– JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 19, 2020
When the hashtag started making noise on Twitter, fans joined in with messages of support for the players and suggestions on how the NFL can protect the players from COVID-19. But it is the players’ message that really matters.
This coordinated union effort serves the NFL with a sharp reminder: the most important people to the league’s success – financially and otherwise – are the players themselves. Keeping these players in the dark about safety precautions, and worse, exposing players to unsafe working conditions will not end well for anyone.
The NFL is in a more difficult position to stage a mid-pandemic comeback than many of the other top sports in the United States. Not only are team organizations generally larger than they are in the NBA and MLB, American football is also more of a contact support.
This makes the question of how to keep players safe and what to do if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 all the more urgent. Mashable reached out to the NFL for comment and we will keep you updated on any responses.