Defensive end J. J. Watt absolutely thinks every player should have the right to decide whether he wants or not to play this season and the Houston Texans star notes whatever some player chooses to do should be respected. After several week of negotiations, the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed on letting players sit out the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic as it means that those players who opt not to play this coming season wouldn't be facing any sort of penalty.
But the league wants to minimize players opting out and it is believed that most players would prefer to get through the training camp or even play a game or two before making their final decision. "I think that every guy’s situation is different,” Watt said during a Wednesday appearance on the #PFTPM podcast, as quoted on Profootballtalk.
“There could be a guy who has a child with asthma and really just doesn’t wanna bring it back home, or you have a pregnant wife. I think that the one thing I would say to that is there shouldn’t be a stigma if you do choose to opt out.
If there is a legitimate reason for you to be opting out, you don’t feel comfortable whether it’s for yourself, whether it’s for your family, I don’t personally think there shouldn’t be a stigma for that because you’re making the best decision for yourself and for your family.
If we ever get to the point where we’re shaming people for dropping out of a sport because they want to protect the health of their family, then we’re in a tough spot”.
Watt calls for patience
The training camps are still due to open on July 28 and any delays in the opening of training could potentially jeopardize Week One of the season.
Five-time Pro Bowler Watt thinks it's better to adapt and make some changes in dates if necessary than to strictly hold to the dates that are already set. "The last thing that we want as players is for this report date to be set in stone and for us to be bumping up against this report date and then we hastily put things together just because we want to make sure that report date is met,” Watt said.
“I think the most important thing for us is getting everything right so that everybody feels as safe as possible, as comfortable as possible with what we’re gonna do. Whether that is on the report date, whether that’s pushed back, whatever it may be.
But I just don’t want us to get into a situation where we bump up this report date and we say oh no now we gotta figure it out. That’s where you get into trouble."