Sports | July 27, 2020 11:42 am

NFL Players Who Attend “High-Risk” Events Will Risk Paychecks

Players who contract the coronavirus can face team discipline according to the league's new protocol

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An NFL football with a logo before the game.
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As part of the new league safety protocol that was agreed to last week by the NFL and the NFLPA, players who contract the coronavirus through attending “high-risk” activities and events are at risk of facing team discipline and having their paychecks withheld.

High-risk activities include going to an indoor nightclub, bar, concert or house party with more than 15 people, attending a sporting event (other than an NFL game) with more than 15 people or going to an indoor religious service attended by more than 25 percent of a venue’s capacity, according to a memo about the new protocol obtained by ESPN.

If a player is found to have contracted COVID-19 away from a league facility by taking part in a reckless activity, they can be fined for conduct detrimental to the team. Also, such a situation would allow the team to attempt to put the player on the non-football injury list, a move that would allow the club the option of not paying him.

“Clubs/NFL can challenge designation as a football related injury if it can prove that the player contracted COVID-19 through engaging in high risk conduct below. (This issue remains open.),” the memo reads.

“Training camps will begin as scheduled,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week. “We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel. These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials. The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl.”

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