Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL won’t allow fans into training camps when they are set to start on July 28.
The news was first reported by NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, who added that NFL teams will be able to hold up to two events at stadiums for fans — as long as fan attendance is permitted under local public health protocols and guidelines. No fans will be allowed on the field or have contact or interaction with players.
Fan attendance at training camps has always been a great experience for fans to get an up-close look at their favorite teams and players; occasionally taking photos and getting autographs. However, putting players and fans together during the ongoing pandemic wouldn’t make sense.
The Miami Dolphins are 18 days away from the start of training camp, but the league still doesn’t have an agreement over safety protocols for this season or rules for camp.
So far, the NFL has banned postgame interactions within six feet of each other, postgame jersey exchanges, on-field fan seating, and media in locker rooms, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Pelissero noted that the plan outlined in the memo is still “a work in progress” and hasn’t been agreed to by the NFL or NFLPA.
Dolphins players have already pushed back on the idea and voiced their concerns on the league not addressing issues regarding player health.
Cornerback Nik Needham tweeted ” I just want to play football… but we need the @NFL to step up and create a safe work environment for us. #safetyfirst.”
In regards to the post-game jersey exchange ban, he said “Lets Atleast Make It Make Sense.”
Defensive end Shaq Lawson also weighed in on the league banning jersey exchanges, he said, “We can’t trade jerseys. But we making contact with a player every play.”
Cornerback Byron Jones: Frustrating to hear the NFL has yet to address major issues regarding player health + safety with training being 2 weeks away. We just want to play football. Make it happen @NFL.”
Safety Kavon Frazier: Two weeks left before the camp date that was given and still no progress on making it safer for the players. @NFL We want to play but #SafetyFirst !!!”
Cornerback Ryan Lewis: “Dear @NFL, please address the health and safety concerns so we can play football this year! I know everyone wants to see football this year, but we need the NFL to step up and create a safe work environment for us. #SafetyFirst”
NFL rookies are due to report to training camp on July 21.