The deadline has been set for NFL players to opt-out of the 2020 season. According to ESPN, the NFL sent a letter to the NFL Players Association stating the deadline for players to opt-out is Thursday at 4 p.m ET. This news comes after 45 players have decided not to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CBS Sports.
One team that has been hit the hardest with players opting out is the New England Patriots. As of Tuesday morning, eight members of the Patriots have decided to opt-out, including Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, and Marquise Lee. Another Patriots player, Devin McCourty, had a strong reaction to the NFL moving up the opt-out deadline.
"I think it is an absolute joke that the NFL is changing the opt-out period, mainly because they don't want to continue to see guys opt out. I'm sure they're shocked about how many guys have opted out," McCourty said to reporters on Sunday. "I think it's terrible. I think it's B.S. that the league has changed that date." McCourty also said he would support players if they decide to play or not, but "I'm still out here having fun and figuring things out. So, we'll see how we go."
The players who have opted out have different reasons for making the decision. But along with the opting out, the NFL also implemented a reserve/COVD-19 list, which is for players who have tested positive for COVID-19 or come in close contact with an infected person. If a player falls into one of those categories, a team will have to put the player on the list immediately. Teams can't reveal whether a player is in quarantine or tests positive for the coronavirus.
With all the changes made for the 2020 NFL season, many wonder if there will be a season at all. Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't understand why the league is trying to make a season happen considering everything that's going on. "It's obviously for their money," he said to the Wall Street Journal. "And that bothers me because there's always been this — and I hate saying it like that — but the owners' [attitude is], 'Oh we own you guys,' and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don't see us as human."