JC Tretter advocates players' rights must be protected in world of coronavirus

On Tuesday, Browns center and NFLPA president JC Tretter penned an op-ed on the player's union's website that advocated for protecting the rights of football players as the league heads into what is guaranteed to be a unique 2020 season.

The coronavirus is unique, but the narratives we face as athletes are often recycled and undermine our leverage and power as players. We want to return to work, but we want to be safe, too: https://t.co/SOhGzKTzkX

— JC Tretter (@JCTretter) June 30, 2020

Last month, Tretter spoke with reporters via Zoom and warned that there are many hurdles needed to be cleared in order for the NFL to play its season safely.

“This is a contact disease, and we play a contact sport,” Tretter said.

Tretter and the NFLPA have been hosting biweekly calls with players and their wives updating them on the latest news as well as to discuss the new norm, how to protect themselves when they go to the store or go out and to answer any questions. The calls also include doctors to address medical concerns.

With his latest update on Tuesday morning, Tretter explained that the role of the NFLPA as a union is to protect the rights of players, and it will never be more important to adhere to that standard in 2020.
"For both rookies who are eager to make an impression and veterans who are hungry to come back, we have to be patient with the process so that we can make sure you and your families receive every necessary protection," Tretter wrote.

The Browns center informed players that just because they are professional athletes, doesn't mean they should be held to a different standard amid the pandemic.

By sharing and disputing common misconceptions like “Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right,” “Just go play! You’re young and healthy. You will all be fine. We need sports back,” and “I had to go back to work. You should have to go back, too,” Tretter hopes that players' will fight for safety above all this season.

"As a union, our most important job is keep our players safe and alive. The NFLPA will fight for our most at-risk players and their families," Tretter said.

Ensuring both players and fans alike that "we want to play football," there are still a lot of unknowns this summer.

For both Tretter and fellow players, there are more questions than answers right now.  

“We have guys with pre-existing [medical> conditions,” Tretter said. “Obviously, testing is going to have to be really important to this. There just needs to be a plan, and there are a lot of questions that have to be answered. Anytime you kind of come up with an answer, five or six questions pop up from that answer. It is an ever-evolving conversation, and there is really not just a short list of ‘We need these five things.’”

You can read Tretter's full article here.