As a league-wide COVID-19 outbreak makes its way into the NFL, at least one of the affected players seems less than thrilled with how the situation has been handled and with league protocols.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, one of 20 players on his team in the league’s COVID protocols along with coach Kevin Stefanski, sounded on Twitter Thursday.
‘ QB depth chart with Mayfield, Keenum on COVID protocols
In particular, Mayfield told the NFL to “take a damn mind” about the protocols and said concerns about player safety are secondary to the league.
@NFL Decide on the protocols. Showing up and doing only 3 test teams?!? All so you can keep the game on schedule to earn money.
– Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) December 16, 2021
The league announced new protocols Thursday.
They include an indoor masking requirement, a ban on certain in-person meetings, and a new way to test protocols.
Despite the memo saying that the new protocols would begin “effective immediately,” there is a belief that the players currently on the roster will not be bound by the new protocols.
Sills emphasized in the call that they are not loosening the standards here, they are looking to detect if someone has a substantial amount of virus to infect others. Those who don’t, and have recovered (i.e. symptoms), can now potentially return to the field sooner.
– Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 16, 2021
As of now, Mayfield’s point about the NFL keeping the game on schedule appears to be valid. The league has been firm in its policy earlier this season that games will not be rescheduled due to COVID.
Nor is the NFL’s stance expected to change anytime soon.
He was asked if, with the increasing positive tests for COVID-19 in the #Brown—The NFL has considered postponing the game on Saturday.
The NFL responded with:
– Camryn Justice (@camijustice) December 16, 2021
This is despite the fact that the NFL Players Association has voiced its opinion about wanting to put off the Browns-Raiders and has gone so far as to call for the league to stop playing altogether for the week. Mayfield’s teammate, JC Tretter, is president of the NFLPA.
Additionally, the NFLPA is aggressively pushing to postpone the Raiders-Browns game on Saturday. Some in the union believe the entire season should be closed for a week. The union is concerned about the safety of the players and the integrity of the game.
– ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 16, 2021
With the game going under 48 hours and the possibility of more players entering the protocols between now and then, it is possible that the NFL will soften its position.
But even if he doesn’t, Mayfield likely won’t mince words when he speaks again.