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New Orleans Saints player Malcolm Jenkins, who is also the voice of the NFL Players Coalition, has expressed health and safety concerns about the NFL’s plans to still start the season on September 10, despite the fact that health officials have cast an ominous warning on the season due to COVID-19.
Jenkins, who was hired this month as a social justice contributor to CNN, told the media company yesterday that the risks surrounding the coronavirus would have to be eliminated for him to feel comfortable returning to play.
“Until we get to the point where we have protocols in place and until we get to a place as a country where we feel safe doing it we have to understand that football is a non-essential business and we don’t need to do it. The risk has to be eliminated before I would feel comfortable going back,” Jenkins said.
#Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said on CNN this morning that he wouldn’t feel comfortable playing football with the way things currently stand.
“The risk has to be really eliminated before I would feel comfortable with going back." pic.twitter.com/SECZxQgTaF
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) June 25, 2020
Of course, some football fans weren’t too happy with Jenkins’ statement, which seemed to imply that some players might be thinking of not playing if the coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire or if a vaccination isn’t approved in short order.
It’s common sense thinking, but nobody wants to hear that.
Than sit out season ! Big shot!
— peterd. (@peter20773267) June 25, 2020
— Sean Payton Blocked me idk why plz help… (@SierraAlpha24) June 25, 2020
So glad to hear! Football is so much better without you! Bye!
— Keith Hardin (@keith5hardin) June 25, 2020
Some sports media members, such as Jason Whitlock took offense at Jenkins calling football “a nonessential business.” Others just felt that his comments were raining on a parade that has already left the gate.
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) June 25, 2020
There were some Tweeters who understood where Jenkins was coming from
People really mad at him for wanting the NFL to atleast having testing available for all the players and take correct safety precautions so players and their families have a lessened chance of getting sick? What is wrong you all?
— Zach 🌊 (@ConcretePeake) June 25, 2020
There needs to be protocols in place for if & when a player gets it, what do to if a certain city has become a high risk area- if there still are no fans do they still play there? If a player feels uncomfortable playing, what they are gonna do about fans, testing etc. pic.twitter.com/MAYuqEhuWS
— FireBrettBrown2020 (@FBrown2020) June 25, 2020
As the responses to his CNN interview grew, Jenkins then took to social media to clarify his statements, before all of the football junkies and those who can’t understand the players’ health concerns, lost their minds.