NFL players choosing family over football as NFL plans season start as COVID-19 continues to surge

Odell Beckham
Russell Wilson and wife Ciara
Los Angeles, CA: Russell Wilson and wife Ciara, with a very visible baby bump, attend the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, February 9, 2020. Jean-Baptiste LcCroix / Getty Images
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dropped a bombshell to the media on Monday, telling the Wall Street Journal that the NFL isn’t ready to open for business, “Obviously with everything that’s going on, it doesn’t make sense why we’re trying to do this.” Beckham told the publication. “We’re not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It’s obviously for their money,” Beckham added.

“And that bothers me because there’s always been this — and I hate saying it like that — but the owners’ [attitude is], ‘Oh we own you guys,’ and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don’t see us as human. I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.”

Beckham isn’t alone. Several NFL players have opted out of the 2020 season as Covid-19 infections pushed past 4 million in late July, with over 150,000 dead.

Last Tuesday New England Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower announced he would not be playing this season, “Me and my fiancée are just more concerned with the health of our family than football,” Hightower said in a statement to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “especially the new addition to our family.” All-Pro linebacker recently became a father, and his mother had type 2 diabetes.

Hightower is the eighth New England Patriots player to opt-out of this season.

Marquise Goodwin, with wife Morgan
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin with wife Morgan. The couple welcomed their first child in February 2020. Concerned for the baby’s health, as well as his wife, and his own, Goodwin has decided to sit out 2020 NFL season. Christie Hemm Klok for ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin also opted out over concerns for his family’s health. Goodwin and his wife had struggled to have children in the past. They welcomed a baby earlier this year. For them, football isn’t worth the risk to their growing family.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson brought up his concerns to the NFL just before wife, Ciara, gave birth to their son Win over a week ago. Wilson sighted the same reason as the other players, concern for the health of his love ones.

Meanwhile, the NFL has canceled all preseason games while they monitor updates on the virus. There has not been a deadline set for when players can opt-out of this season.

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