“Take the Money and Run” Players Opting Out on the Season

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

Wait! We’ve been waiting on sports for months now. It’s been hard turning on ESPN, Fox Sports Southwest and CNN Sports just to watch highlights from last season. NBATV and the NFL Network is even worse. We need sports and we need it bad! Here’s where the trouble of this article stands. Players in the NBA and NFL are opting out of the season due to the pandemic. Players with contracts that have enormous guaranteed money is allowing players to take the money and run.

NFL
The NFL has decided to nix the preseason games for this season. This sets the stage for the NFL heads (commissioner, board and player reps) to set the stage for players who have decided to sit out because of the pandemic, health risk and money. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “Players will have 7 days from the time the agreement is officially signed to decide whether to opt out for the season”. “Players considered high risk for COVID-19 can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season if they chose to sit out this season”. Players without risk can earn $150,000 for opting out. Notable players that have opted out for the 2020 season: Star Lotulelei (Bills), Patrick Chung (Patriots), Cole Wick (Saints), Stephen Guidry, (Cowboys), Dont’a Hightower (Patriots) and Marcus Cannon (Patriots) just to name a few.

NBA
The NBA has taken over the Walt Disney World complex aka the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida to restart the season. COVID-19 testing and isolation between players, trainers, coaches and staff is set up for precautionary reasons. The NBA has guidelines set up to resume the season and NBA Championship this year. TNT, TBS and NBATV will cover the games played in an empty arena. Notable players that have opted out this season Trevor Ariza (Blazers), Avery Bradley (Lakers), Willie Cauley-Stein (Mavericks), Wilson Chandler (Nets), DeMarcus Cousins (Free Agent) and DeAndre Jordan (Nets) just to name a few. These players with guaranteed money won’t lose anything monumental. Young players without guaranteed money have shown up and are integral parts of the teams that drafted them.

The Last Word
With all of the COVID-19 safety guidelines that professional sports are setting up, I feel it’s watering everything down. I’m not the only one who believes this, but the health of the players is job one and then there’s entertainment. When I turn on my TV to watch the Lakers/Mavericks game, I want to see players that I recognize and cheer for. I won’t to be able to enjoy sports like I once have, but whatever product the league (NBA and NFL) put out there I’ll watch it!