The NFL front office has responded to player concerns for their safety by releasing NFL COVID-19 penalties for players. Below we’ll cover these penalties and other NFL betting news as we wait for the season to finally start.
NFL In Final Negotiations with Players to Launch Season
With the NFL season slated to run this September, the league and players are in final negotiations. With COVID-19 looming over the talks, the league is proposing strict measures to keep players and staff safe. Assuming they keep things on track, BetUS has Week 1 NFL odds all set and ready for you now.
The most recent rule that was sent to players in a memo discusses that NFL players who contract the coronavirus through “high-risk” activity may face disciplinary actions. Some of these actions could include team discipline and loss of pay amongst other measures.
Still under negotiations, the final language of this report will appear in a side letter once all parties come to an agreement. The language of these new measures was distributed over the weekend and represents “a summary of major aspects of the COVID amendments.”
Player Responsibility for NFL COVID-19 Penalties
The main point of all this is to place some personal responsibility on players during the season. The NFL has been highly scrutinized in recent weeks by players and critics alike. They believe the league has done little to protect players from extra risk from the virus.
Compared to the NBA, the NFL still has a long way to go in terms of offering the same type of safety protocols. These new rules threatening to punish players who put teammates and staff at risk via decisions they may choose to make in their personal lives is clearly a move to quiet the critics and instill confidence amongst players.
Our sportsbook will be following this closely as it will be interesting to see if any of these rules, if enforced during the season, will affect any of the odds during this upcoming season.
Important Points from the Memo
- If at least one week of the NFL season is played, players who are on a team’s Week 1 roster or practice squad will receive a full year credited for the purpose of pension and free agency eligibility.
- $17 million in player benefits were canceled, though they will be repaid through a new benefit after 2023.
- Players who opt out because they are in a higher-risk medical category will receive a $350,000 stipend and a year toward free agency. Teams must offer separate housing to a player who has a high-risk person living with them.
- If the 2020 season is canceled before teams make their final training camp cuts, players who are on training camp rosters and earned a 2019 season credit or was a draftee in 2020 will receive a $250,000 stipend and health insurance. Players who were not undrafted in 2020 or did not receive full credit in 2019 will get a $50,000 stipend.
How is the NFL Protecting Players? More NFL COVID-19 Penalties?
In an effort to quell doubts surrounding the safety protocols the league is offering, here is what we know so far. First and foremost, players will be required to test negative twice. That’s before being granted entry to any team facility at the start of training camp.
If a player is diagnosed with COVID-19 after two negative entry tests, he will have his condition diagnosed as a football injury. This is per the NFL/NLFPA agreement. Any player diagnosed with COVID-19 will be able to be placed on a virus-specific injured reserve list. Once a player is cleared to be safe and healthy they will be allowed to return.
Included in the memo is the following, “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.”
Per the memo, the NFL defines high-risk conduct as:
- Indoor nightclub with more than 15 people
- An indoor bar with more than 15 people, other than to pick up food
- Indoor house party with more than 15 people
- An indoor music concert/entertainment event with more than 15 people
- A professional sporting event, other than applicable NFL games or events, with more than 15 people
- An indoor religious service attended by more than 25% of a venue’s capacity
Business as Usual, or Whirlwind Season?
With so much information coming forth in recent days it will take some time to figure things out. How many players will opt out? How many players will get infected with COVID-19? And how many will be forced to opt out of games for a minimum of two weeks? That’s a best-case scenario if a player doesn’t get very sick. Players who contract the virus and actually end up being seriously ill would have major implications for the season.
It will be interesting to see what happens this season and if this unpredictable virus will affect game outcomes. Perhaps it will have an impact on NFL Divison win odds. Will we see a surprise showing from an unexpected team that our Super Bowl odds have as a big underdog?