Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

Hundreds of Pac-12 college football players demanded their voices be heard Sunday morning when they released an open letter to their conference via the Player's Tribune titled "#WeAreUnited."

Inside, they made demands including the ability to receive payments, safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and greater racial justice policies. If the conference decides to not comply, then they threatened to sit out the 2020 college football season which the Pac-12 has slated to begin on September 26 during a pandemic.

[RELATED]: What Jevon Holland, Pac-12 CFB players are demanding or else they'll sit

“We’re not your entertainment, we’re human beings,” Oregon safety Jevon Holland, who was one of the twelve original organizers of the protest, told Sports Illustrated“Just like you would help your family, we want to help our mother, father, grandmother, everyone.

“We don’t know the long term risks. We have no idea how it’s going to affect our body regardless if we show symptoms or not. I refuse to put my health at risk for somebody else’s benefit.”

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Fellow Ducks such as Penei Sewell, Thomas Graham Jr., Jordon Scott, Cyrus Habibi-Likio, Nick Pickett, Daewood Davis, and more have joined in tweeting out the #WeAreUnited graphics on Twitter.

 

High up on the list of concerns from the group of players is the Pac-12 conference's desire to play games this fall despite the United States undergoing its worst pandemic since 1918. 

Among the list of demands, the players want insurance selected by the players "for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness" that will last until six years after NCAA eligibility ends, the option to opt-out of the upcoming season without fear of losing athletic eligibility, scholarship, or a roster spot, all COVID-19 agreements that waive liability to be prohibited or voided, and safety standards approved by them that are enforced by a third party to "address COVID-19, as well as serious injury, abuse and death."

However, many Ducks players came out in support of head coach Mario Cristobal, who himself has stressed that safety is the top priority for the Oregon football program since the cancellation of the spring game back in March up to present day.

Holland sent out the initial tweet praising Cristobal and the Oregon coaching/medical staff for keeping its players safe.

Johnny Johnson III and Cyrus Habidi-Likio retweeted Holland's comments and adding additional support for the Ducks head coach and his staff.

Additionally, cornerback Verone Mckinley III echoed his teammates' sentiment.

Holland and Habidi-Likio also thanked Oregon athletic trainer Travis Halseth. 

It's easy to see why. 

In an appearance on Fox's Big Noon Kickoff earlier this week, Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal hinted that the Ducks haven't had a positive test yet for the coronavirus.

"We've been here now a total of seven and a half, coming up on eight weeks and our processes have been flawless. We don't publicly put our results out there but I think the best way to say [it] is that we have been flawless in our processes and our results."

As for those processes in place to keep the student-athletes of Oregon safe, Cristobal said he "can't imagine anyone having anything better out there but we're always researching. We're always digging. We're always looking for information good and bad out there. Anything that can affect us in a positive way. Anything that can help us enhance our processes."

Despite the processes appearing to be working perfectly, Cristobal and his staff are always trying to better it because the safety of his players is the top priority.

"It's as simple as that. Is it safe or is it not? If it is, then okay, let's try this. And if it's it not, then there's no point," said Cristobal.

 

On Friday, the Pac-12 unveiled a new, ten-game, conference only schedule for each team that will begin on September 26. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks 2020 conference-only college football schedule revealed

Will it get played? We'll see. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]