The start of the official NFL season is exactly a month away. However, there are still a lot of concerns about how the league will proceed amid the coronavirus. Especially with the coaching staff and NFL referees. A lot of whom are around the age group that is most susceptible to the virus.
According to the NFL, referees that don’t feel comfortable taking the field this season can opt out of the 2020 season. In exchange for a $30,000 stipend. Also, a guarantee that their jobs will be protected in 2021. Sounds fair?
The agreement was approved by the NFLRA board of directors. Also will advance to a full vote of membership Monday. If approved, officials will have until Thursday to notify the NFL of a decision to opt out.
“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members,” Green said in a statement. “Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the league that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.”
NFL Referees News Surrounding Coronavirus
The NFL currently has 121 officials. Which is enough to give each at least a week off during the season. However, the league will try to hire more officials this week. Already has a number of protocols in place to make sure they have enough officials if some of the current officials decide to opt out.
The option to opt out is open to all officials who have concerns about the coronavirus. In addition to the $30,000 stipend and 2021 job guarantee, the agreement also includes the following stipulations:
*There will be COVID-19 testing twice per game week. For a Sunday game, officials will be tested on Thursday at home. Also, on Saturday at the site of the game.
*Any official who tests positive for COVID-19 during the season will receive salary. Medical and other benefits the NFL normally gives when an official suffers an injury on the job.
*Any official who tests positive or shows symptoms of illness at a game site will receive medical expenses, lodging and travel expenses home from the NFL.