Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields wants to play football this year. On Sunday, Fields went to Twitter to announce he has started a petition for the Big Ten Conference to play football this fall. Last week, the conference announced football and fall sports have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Monday morning, the petition had over 230,000 signatures.
"We want to play," Fields wrote in the petition. "We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future." Fields recently appeared on ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin and said he wanted to let the Big Ten officials known that the players don't want to wait until the spring to return to action.
"My biggest message to them would just be to get them to realize how bad our players want to play and just the guys that are coming back for their fifth year, coming back off of injury, I think that we owe it to those guys the most," he said. "I've just seen behind the scenes all the work that they've put in and how much they really care about it. And I honestly believe all the coaches and all the parents, players want us to play, and they all feel safe with the guidelines Ohio State has set."
According to ESPN, the Big Ten is aware of the petition but has not released a statement. And while Fields is gaining a lot of traction with his petition, it's unlikely the conference will change its mind due to the pandemic being an issue in the country since March in terms of sports being played.
"The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward," Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement last week. "As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."