Report: COVID-19 diagnosis sticking point in NFL talks

As the NFL works on coronavirus-related protocols for a return to the field, ESPN reported Wednesday that a major sticking point in negotiations with the NFL Players’ Association is how to classify a player’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

The NFLPA reportedly is against classifying a COVID-19 diagnosis as a “non-football injury.” The concern is that teams are not required to pay players on the non-football injury list.

A hypothetical scenario presented in the report is that a player could contract the virus during practice or a game and then be placed on the NFI. That designation would mean the team is not required to pay the player.

While the non-football injury designation is the most pressing concern, the report also said the NFLPA has made other requests of the NFL, such as daily virus testing, the elimination of preseason games and compensation for players who opt out of the upcoming season for COVID-19-related reasons. The NFLPA also wants assurances that the 2021 salary cap will not be reduced because of potential lost revenue in 2020.

The two sides do not have any meetings scheduled, but are expected to meet soon, according to the report. The NFLPA was expected to conduct a planning call Wednesday to discuss the NFL’s latest proposal for returning to the field.