Plans to begin training camps are moving forward despite ongoing negotiations with the NFL and the players’ union to address Covid-19 testing and other health and safety procedures.
Using the hashtag, #WeWantToPlay, many prominent players, including Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson, raised concerns on the issue on social media over the weekend.
“We need Football! We need sports! We need hope!” Saints quarterback Drew Brees wrote on Twitter. “The NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent that. If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. Get it done @NFL.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who is expecting his second child with wife and singer, Ciara, wrote, “My wife is pregnant. @NFL Training camp is about to start. And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety???? We want to play football, but we also want to protect our loved ones. #WeWantToPlay.”
Under the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL can deem a player in breach of his contract and fine players who don’t report for training camp.
The players’ union could file a grievance to argue the league isn’t providing a safe work environment. Questions also remain about protections for players who want to opt out of the season due to coronavirus concerns.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
As coronavirus hotspots continue to spring up nationwide and the president’s poll numbers drop, Trump met with Republican congressional leaders on Monday to discuss the next round of coronavirus relief funding. [READ MORE]
The priorities of the next $1 trillion plus aid will be small businesses, schools and jobs, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The bill will be completed by the end of the month before additional unemployment aid expires, Mnuchin said, but Republicans will work to make sure workers don’t make more in unemployment benefits than they would if they worked as normal.
In addition, Trump said he’ll resume his daily 5 p.m. coronavirus briefings, likely starting Tuesday, citing the need to get out information with the surge in cases.
A trial of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is showing promise in the fight against the pandemic. Early results in the trial found that the vaccine in development generates two “strong” immune responses: the production of both antibodies and T cells, which find and attack virus cells.
The trial did not determine if the vaccine prevents coronavirus infection. Researchers in the vaccine trial are aiming for a finished vaccine this year.
During a Fox News interview, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says a national mask mandate isn’t necessary, citing the lack of enforcement mechanisms at the federal level. Repeating Trump’s sentiments that wearing masks infringes on individual freedom, Adams said that the administration fights to protect freedoms, but added that “freedom comes with responsibility and part of that responsibility means wearing a face covering when you go out.”
As coronavirus infections increase in the Caribbean, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has announced a ban on most international flights.
Minnis attributes the almost three-fold increase in infections to the reopening of its borders July 1. Most of the new cases appear on one of the country’s largest islands, Grand Bahama.
HBCUs Morehouse and Spelman College announced that classes will be held virtually for the Fall 2020 semester due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Atlanta. Plans to reopen the campuses for students for the Spring 2021 semester are unknown.
In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Delta Airlines will begin asking passengers who cannot wear face covering due to a medical condition to consider staying home. If not, the passenger must complete an over-the-phone health screening and consultation before being allowed to fly.
Delta will decide whether the passenger will be allowed to travel without wearing a mask if the outcome of the screening is favorable.
Starting August 1, Gap Inc. will require masks in all of its stores nationwide. Gap Inc. Includes Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, and Janie and Jack stores. Young children and those with medical conditions will be exempt from the requirement.
Disposable masks will be offered to customers who need them. Customers who don’t want to wear a mask will also have the option to shop online or utilize the store curbside pickup feature.