Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to act on the most recent NFL changes implemented on Friday. He opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns and will not play for the Chiefs this year.
The current climate is aggressive and somewhat dangerous. Because of that, the players who don’t want to risk their health will be paid a reasonable sum of money for choosing not to participate in the unfolding NFL season.
The agreement between the league and the players was unanimously agreed upon by all the members on Friday. It gives players a full week to make the decision and will grant $150,000 dollars to those who choose not to play this year. ‘High risk’ individuals will be given $350,000.
This change is not going to compensate for the salary loss (e.g. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif would have made $2.75 million), but it will encourage those who are eager to distance themselves from the somewhat dangerous environment to do so.
Why Did Duvernay-Tardif Opt Out?
The reason the Chiefs’ offensive lineman decided not to participate in the upcoming season is straightforward and admirable.
He’s been working as an orderly in a care facility. According to his social media, that made him realize the pressure the health system has been going through for the last couple of months.
In Laurent’s eyes, if he is going to risk spreading COVID-19, it will be reasonable to be helping others, not playing football. But the decision did not come very easily. Duvernay-Tardif called it one of the hardest ones he’s had to make in his life.
Will Other Players Follow?
Other players have until Monday to make up their minds about the upcoming season, but the implications could be huge. Money issues aside, the decision might have lasting consequences.
Getting out of shape, losing the main roster position, disrupting the already messed up rhythm and schedule. Those are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ things players have to worry about when opting out.
Most agents say their players won’t follow Laurent in his landmark decision.
But their reaction towards such a decision has been positive. Laurent’s teammates, Hill and Mahomes, expressed their admiration of their offensive lineman’s dedication to helping others.
The NFL has been taking reasonable steps to make the environment safer. The league and the union have also left enough room for players to make up their own minds about the situation. We’ll see whether or not it’ll set the upcoming season on the right path.
In your opinion, will the absence of Laurent affect the team’s results?
Also, you can read The Reasonability of the NFL training camps start.