Eagles defensive lineman Malik Jackson posted a passionate message to his personal Instagram on Wednesday night, calling out NFL owners for what he feels is 'unacceptable and disrespectful' behavior as the league inches towards the 2020 regular season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Jackson, who signed a three-year deal with the Eagles last March, joined a growing group of players who are voicing their discomfort with fast-approaching training camp and preseason dates.
Here's Jackson's full message:
It is unacceptable and utterly disrespectful for the owners to have set a camp start date of July 28, 2020 with no safety/ financial guarantee agreed upon for us as players, the backbone of this industry. Today is July 8 and we have no answers to simple questions we’ve been asking since this pandemic started. We (players) are sons,fathers & brothers wanting to protect our families during this unprecedented time. As Pro-Athletes we are willing and able juggle. Juggle the risk that our careers bring, the stress of the game on our minds and bodies and most important making sure we don’t neglect our families. Now, you want us to weigh putting food on the table the best way we know how which we could potentially catching the killer virus and bring it home or starve.
I can not pass Rush from 6 feet away, I cannot defeat a double team from 6 feet away nor can I tackle somebody from 6 feet away (to not do those things in practice, just in games is asinine). This sport is not in any way able to be played 6 feet away, let alone stop the transfer of sweat and blood.
Respectfully, every owner is over 40 and understandable will probably not be out there with us on the field nor in the building. I ask in this moment you see us as people not financial burdens or roster spots. Health is wealth for both parties.
Jackson joined other Eagles teammates who expressed their concern about safety measures (and financial compensation) during the pending NFL season.
On Wednesday, Eagles cornerback Darius Slay responded to a report that indicated the NFL wanted players to take pay cuts during the 2020 season, putting up to 35% of their salary in escrow:
We should get a bonus if we play!!! We putting our family’s at risk. https://t.co/bQI5Bp7IFB— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) July 7, 2020
The league has already reportedly cut its preseason slate in half, pushing the start date back to accomodate players after an unorthodox offseason. This week, Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted that the preseason wouldn't be played at all:
Sources say there will be no preseason this year— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) July 7, 2020
It will be interesting to see if the NFL can avoid the public fighting MLB endured and play a 16-game season, or if the league is closing in on its own prolonged negotiation period and a similarly shortened season.
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