TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Left Tackle Donovan Smith. the man assigned to block Tom Brady’s blindside says that “risking my health, as well as my family’s health, does not seem like a risk worth taking” by playing during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an Instagram post addressed to the NFL and NFLPA, Smith who has a child due in three weeks says he has many concerns about how he and teammates are supposed to protect themselves and their families and about the NFL’s testing protocols.
“The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things. Football is not one. To continue discussing the many UNKNOWNS do not give me the comfort,” Smith wrote. “Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking. With my first child due in 3 weeks, I can’t help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80+ people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter.
“How can a sport that requires physical contact on every snap and transferal of all types of bodily fluid EVERY SINGLE PLAY practice safe social distancing? How can I make sure that I don’t bring COVID-19 back to my household? Yes, we can get tested every day, but if it takes 24 hours to get my results, how can I know each day that I am not spreading this virus or contracting it?
“The reoccurring issue here is how? There are too many ‘hows’ that have yet to be answered to ease player concerns and ensure the safety of not only myself, but also my family. I just can’t imagine how the game will be the same during these unprecedented times.”
“Now to hear that 35% of my paycheck may be withheld while we are out sacrificing our health and wellness for the joy and entertainment of everyone else who will be safe at home in front of their TVs? Something isn’t right here. That should at LEAST warrant a pay raise due to the risk, not a cut,” Smith said. “I am not a lab rat or guinea pig to test theories on. I am a man, a son, brother, soon to be father, and I deserve to be safe at work.”
Earlier this year, a Buccaneers assistant coach tested positive for COVID-19. Buccaneers training camp is set to start on July 21.