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NFLPA doctor says safety during COVID-19 outbreak will dictate schedule

NFLPA doctor says safety during COVID-19 outbreak will dictate schedule

Every year the release of the NFL schedule is something fans look forward to. What dates to circle, to ask off from work, and weekends to book travel around.
 
This is not every year.
 
The schedule is being released on Thursday night. In a coronavirus lockdown it offers hope for fans seeking a sense of normalcy, but what does that mean?
 
Executive Vice President of NFL operations Troy Vincent told NBC Sports Washington last month that putting the season on hold was never in question: “We are planning to have a full season, we are responsible and we’re doing reasonable planning.” 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell echoed that during the NFL Draft, saying he expected the season to start on time. And a leaked memo from his office gave guidelines for teams to begin opening facilities this month.
 
But it's not as easy as just opening the doors - especially when it comes to player safety. So while calendars for the fall are being set, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer is making sure it’s done safely for the players. There's already a thick manual on health and safety for players that existed long before the pandemic.
 
Now, there will be masks, tests and more before anyone steps foot on the field. And even with the schedule release on Thursday, Mayer isn't so sure it will be safe to follow it as planned.
 
"This is a novel coronavirus and that's an emerging infectious disease, so novel and emerging are important because we don't know how it acts. All we know is how it has acted here and what we can learn from how it has acted in in China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and in Europe as well,” Mayer said. “And that’s important because every several days you have to pull up and say 'Now what do we know, now what do we know, now what do we know?' It really is a situation where every time you come up with what you think is an answer - and a solid answer based on science - four or five other questions come up that are downstream from that that you have to deal with. I wouldn't presume to tell the NFL what to do with the schedule, but I do hope it's printed on tissue paper."
 
When it is safe for the league to start, it won't be as simple as lining up on each side - fans or no fans. And it’s not clear where games will be played. Mayer is working on a subcommittee looking at all different scenarios.
 
First, there's making sure that there's lots of testing - but in a way that doesn't hurt the communities that host NFL teams.
 
"If one of those communities suddenly has a re-spike of coronavirus in large numbers of testing, in our view as the NFL Players Association, we think we’ve got to be socially responsible and not be in a position to be diverting testing away from others who need it solely for the NFL," Mayer said. “Everyone thinks it's 'testing, testing, testing' and that's true. But when I hear 'testing, testing, testing’ I hear 'supply chain, supply chain, supply chain.' What are the logistics of getting those tests in the communities in sufficient quantities to allow us to have enough to be able to do what we have to do?"
 
When all of that is figured out, it will also be a different look on the field.
 
“Envision a game, if we got there, with coaches on the sideline with masks," Mayer said. "Sean Payton wouldn't have to hold the [playcard] in front so no one could read his lips because he’d have a mask on. The referees would have masks on, we presume, and also we’re trying to figure out how can you attenuate the spread of virus among the players themselves. Everything is on the table. Nothing has been decided."

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These well-known Redskins fans would be very interesting minority stakeholders

These well-known Redskins fans would be very interesting minority stakeholders

The Redskins' three minority owners, who reportedly make up about 40-percent of the team's ownership group, are actively trying to sell their stakes in the club.

Now, if those three do in fact move on — which may prove difficult — there are plenty of well-known Washington fans who could prove to be interesting replacements, even if they purchase just a small slice of what the trio is looking to pass on. 

Check out the list below for a handful of the more eye-catching names that would absolutely draw headlines. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

One of NASCAR's most popular drivers of all time is now working as an analyst for NBC. He's been a fan since he was nine years old and has a positive relationship with Dan Snyder. Plus, he's already used to pressure-packed Sundays.

Matthew McConaughey

Here's another mega-celebrity and lifelong fan of the Burgundy and Gold who's also a personal friend of Snyder's. Perhaps he'd like to add some football hardware to his already crowded trophy case.

Kevin Durant

Durant is one of the best ballers in the world, and with how enormous NBA contracts are as well as all the endorsements he's picked up along the way, you have to figure he has some spare cash to put toward the Redskins if he wanted to.

Plus, becoming a part owner of an NFL team would be something he could hold over his enemies like Draymond Green and Kendrick Perkins.

RELATED: A NAME CHANGE SEEMS IMMINENENT

Wale

The famous rapper just hosted some of the Redskins' virtual programming during the 2020 Draft, and he's tight with QB Dwayne Haskins. He could be next in the long line of artists/musicians who've dabbled in sports ownership.

Taraji P. Henson

The Hidden Figures and Empire actress' father once worked as a janitor for Washington, and she's been a supporter of the squad for quite a while. Buying into them could be a nice thing to add to her real-life empire.

Joe Gibbs

Gibbs isn't exactly a current pop culture icon like any of the names above, but he is a DC icon and it'd be foolish to exclude him from a list like this. Snyder has understandably revered Gibbs for essentially his whole life and confided in him often in the past.

If Gibbs wanted to become involved with the Redskins again, you have to believe Snyder would be thrilled.  

Alexis Ohanian

Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit and sold it back in 2006, has been devoted to the Redskins since the late '80s. He's attended plenty of contests in his fan career. So, why not make the transition from the stadium seats to the owner's box?

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Reports: Redskins' three minority owners attempting to sell their stakes in the franchise

Reports: Redskins' three minority owners attempting to sell their stakes in the franchise

The three minority owners of the Washington Redskins -- Frederick Smith, Robert Rothman, and Dwight Schar -- are trying to sell their stake in the team, according to a report from the Washington Post on Sunday night. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio first reported Sunday afternoon that Smith and Schar wanted to sell.

The three men have reportedly hired a banking firm to help the search for potential buyers, but according to Florio they have not had much luck. The trio is "not happy being a partner" to Redskins majority owner Dan Snyder, according to the Post.

Smith, Rothman and Schar are Washington's lone minority partners and make up about 40-percent of the franchise's ownership group, according to the Post. The three minority owners are the only members of Washington's ownership group outside of Snyder, along with his sister and his mother.

Smith is the CEO and founder of FedEx, one of Washington's largest corporate sponsors. FedEx currently holds the naming rights to Washington's home stadium, FedEx Field, through 2025. The stadium lease expires in 2027.  

This past Thursday, FedEx became one of the first major corporate sponsors of the Redskins to publicly place pressure on the franchise to change its name. Other companies such as Nike, which removed all Redskins' products from its website, along with Bank of America and PepsiCo followed shortly after.

In response, the Redskins released a statement on Friday that the team is undergoing a "thorough review" of the team's name. All signs point toward an inevitable change. New head coach Ron Rivera has said that he hopes the name is changed prior to the 2020 season, which begins in September.

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