AP Sources: NFL discussed cancellations due to COVID-19 | Ap thread
With a wave of COVID-19 cases threatening to disrupt the NFL season last week, the league has discussed game cancellations for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
In discussions with the NFL Players Association, cancellation of games involving Washington, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Rams has been considered due to coronavirus outbreaks on each team. Instead, the games have been moved from weekends to Monday and Tuesday.
NFLPA President JC Tretter, a Browns center, said the NFL wanted to cancel those games – players would not have been paid in this scenario, according to the league’s COVID-19 protocol agreement with the union last season. But two player representatives familiar with the talks told The Associated Press that canceling the games was never the No.1 plan. The two representatives spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the conversations.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the AP on Wednesday: “Our goal has been to play the season as planned in a safe and responsible manner.”
Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Tretter underscored the union’s opposition to any cancellations.
“So the NFL’s position last week was that these three games were going to be called off,” Tretter said Wednesday. “They weren’t going to be played, and if they weren’t played, no one on any of the teams would get paid. This is obviously a problem for us as a union. Over 18% of our player population might not get paid last week. Our position was that we have to make sure all games are played so our guys get paid. “
Tretter said the union executive committee voted unanimously “that our position should be that games should be rescheduled, not canceled and we have pushed the league to that resolution.”
The Raiders at Browns game has been moved from Saturday to Monday, with the victory in Las Vegas. Seattle at the Rams and Washington at the Eagles went from Sunday to Tuesday night, with Los Angeles and Philadelphia winning.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is focused on games, not when they will be played.
“You don’t care because it’s out of our control, so we can’t care about the things that we can’t control,” he said.
Last season, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and before vaccines were available, the NFL managed to complete its entire schedule, the playoffs and the Super Bowl on time. However, this necessitated the postponement of 15 games due to COVID-19 outbreaks in various teams.
Sports writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.
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