When NFL teams begin their offseason workouts, players from four teams will not participate. One of those teams is the Detroit Lions. On Wednesday morning, the NFLPA released a statement on behalf of the Lions players, announcing their decision to skip the voluntary workout.
“With the voluntary workout period starting shortly and no acceptable resolution to our union’s negotiations with the NFL over comprehensive COVID-19 protocols, we will be exercising our CBA right to not attend voluntary workouts.”
Along with that, the memo acknowledged Michigan’s uptick in cases specifically.
“We know our home state of Michigan continues to get hit hard by the pandemic, and based on the continuing guidance of the medical experts, it is in everyone’s best interest to play it safe again this offseason. Players on our team are proud to support other players across the league in making an informed decision about their health and safety, guided by the facts and support from our union.”
With Michigan’s COVID-19 cases trending upward. So this move shouldn’t be a shocker. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will address Michigan rising cases Wednesday afternoon in a 3pm press conference.
Despite that, there was an expectation Lions players would skip the voluntary workouts.
The NFL sent out a memo Tuesday morning outling new COVID-19 protocols. So far, players from three teams immediately opted out. The Detroit Lions join the Denver Broncos, Tampa Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks in this decision.
While the decision is unfortunate, these aren’t uncharted waters. Last offseason, the NFL required all teams to operate their offseason virtually. After all, COVID-19 was a new virus. And no one knew what to make of it.
However, that was last year.
With a vaccine now available, the NFL had expectations of a normal offseason with a full stadium of fans very soon.