With just under six weeks to go until the start of the regular season, the NFL could soon have a crisis on its hands, and that’s because one of the league’s biggest stars isn’t on board with the idea of playing football this year. During an interview with WSJ. Magazine this week, Odell Beckham Jr. made it clear that he thinks the 2020 season should be canceled.
The Browns receiver didn’t mince words when he was asked his thoughts about playing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen,” Beckham said. “And I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.”
According to Beckham, it made sense for basketball to restart, but trying to play an entire football season doesn’t make any sense due to the logistics involved. Not only do NFL teams have much larger rosters than basketball teams, but the NBA is playing in a bubble while the NFL decided to take a pass on putting players in a bubble.
“Obviously with everything that’s going on, it doesn’t make sense why we’re trying to do this,” Beckham said. “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 clearly isn’t the only player concerned about coronavirus. As of Monday, more than 40 players have opted out of playing this season, which is apparently a much higher number than the NFL thought it would see. The league is reportedly now trying to move up the deadline for opting out so players have less time to make their decision.
As for Beckham, after watching the NFL cancel OTAs and minicamp, the Browns receiver says the league should just go ahead and cancel everything else, but he knows they won’t, because of all the money involved.
“We’re not ready for football season,” Beckham said. “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.”
These are strong comments by Beckham and it will be interesting to see how the NFL responds. The NFL has made it clear all offseason that it plans to play out the 2020 schedule as planned. It will also be interesting to see if any other players feel the same way as Beckham. If enough players say that the NFL should cancel the season, the NFL might actually have to think about at least revamping the regular season. Despite his comments, Beckham has not opted out from playing this season. According to Cleveland.com‘s Mary Kay Cabot, Beckham’s comments were made before he had a chance to see the Browns facility and he has no plans for opting out.
This story was originally published by CBS Sports on Monday, August 3, 2020 at 1:26 p.m. ET.