Tom Brady has reportedly enraged the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) by continuing to hold workouts with his new Buccaneers teammates despite the fact that coronavirus cases have been spiking in Florida.
“Those practices are not in the best interest of player safety,” NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith told USA Today in a blistering statement. “They’re not in the best interest of protecting our players heading into training camp. And I don’t think they are in the best interest of us getting through an entire season.”
This comes one week after the NFLPA asked players to stop holding private workouts as COVID-19 cases started to spike in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona. Brady and his teammates had been practicing at a local high school, and they have shown no signs of stopping despite the fact that two Buccaneers and an assistant coach have recently tested positive for the deadly virus.
“Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts,” NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer wrote in the letter. “Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.
“We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season, and believe that it is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before training camp commences,” he added.
This has not stopped Brady from continuing to hold workouts, despite the fact that the upcoming season may not even happen.
“All of the things that players may want to do during the offseason have a direct impact on how well we can negotiate protections for them once the season starts,” Smith said. “When you look at the risk factors for COVID-19 — high (body mass index), sleep apnea, asthma, players that are prone to blood clots — that’s our membership.
“For some of the players who’ve practiced, we’ve made sure they’ve heard the message,” he added.