Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Donovan Smith has shared concerns over playing the upcoming NFL season in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic as he absolutely thinks there will be a high risk of contracting the virus.
The NFL has avoided difficulties and challenges that many sports have faced in the last few months as the 2019 NFL season ended in February -- a month before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic -- and the new NFL season is set to start in September.
The hope is that the upcoming NFL season won't face any delays or a cancellation but it is certain that even if the season gets staged -- many changes and adjustments will have to be made. Smith, who was selected by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft, has been one of the most consistent players on the team over the last few years as he has started in each of his 79 games played in the NFL.
Smith could opt to sit out the upcoming season
"To whom it may concern: "With the start of the 2020 NFL season fast approaching, many thoughts and questions roam my mind as I'm sure it does for many of my fellow "coworkers" across the league.
The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things. Football is not one," Smith said in an Instagram post. "To continue discussing the many unknowns does not give me comfort. Risking my health as well as my family's health does not seem like a risk worth taking.
With my first child due in three weeks, I can't help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80-plus people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter. "How can a sport that requires physical contact on every snap and transferal of all types of bodily fluid every single play practice safe social distancing? How can I make sure that I don't bring COVID-19 back to my household? Yes, we can get tested everyday, but if it takes 24 hours to get my results, how can I know each day that I am not spreading this virus or contracting it? The reoccurring issue here is how? "There are too many "hows" that have yet to be answered to ease player concerns and ensure the safety of not only myself, but also my family.
I just can't imagine how the game will be the same during these unprecedented times. "Now to hear that 35% of my paycheck may be withheld while we are out sacrificing our health and wellness for the joy and entertainment of everyone else who will be safe at home in front of their TVs? Something isn't right here.
That should at least warrant a pay raise due to the risk, not a cut. I am not a lab rat or guinea pig to test theories on. I am a man, a son, brother, soon to be father, and I deserve to be safe at work."