Odell Beckham Jr. does not think the NFL should hold the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Before players reported to training camp, Beckham spoke to the Wall Street Journal‘s Lane Florsheim and shared why he thinks the league is incentivized to have the season.
“We’re not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It’s obviously for their money. 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,” he said. “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.”
Later, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reported Beckham’s interview with WSJ was conducted two weeks ago before the NFL and NFLPA had reached an agreement on COVID-19 safety protocols. Since then, the wideout “has developed more of a comfort level for playing” after reporting to the Browns’ training facility and seeing the team’s safety measures. Although the NFL has yet to set a deadline for players opting out, Beckham reportedly has no plans to sit out the season.
Beckham, who is entering his second season with the Browns, reported on time to training camp.
He also mentioned how playing amid the pandemic is different for football versus basketball, referencing the NBA resumption.
“I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. Hooping is different than playing an eleven-on-eleven contact sport where there’s 80 people in a locker room,” Beckham said.
The NBA has safely resumed the 2019-20 season in a bubble in Orlando, and the NHL has followed the same model while preparing for the playoffs in Canada. Meanwhile, the 2020 MLB season has been nearly derailed by coronavirus outbreaks across the league. Members of the Marlins, Phillies and Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19 last week, causing multiple games to be postponed.
Due to coronavirus concerns, players from over 20 NFL teams have already opted out of the 2020 season.