Father time is not the only thing Tom Brady is flipping the bird to, and the NFL Players Association head is not happy about it.
The 42-year-old quarterback is going against the advice of the NFLPA by continuing to hold group workouts with his new Buccaneers teammates, despite coronavirus cases spiking in Florida.
“Those practices are not in the best interest of player safety,” NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith told USA Today. “They’re not in the best interest of protecting our players heading into training camp. And I don’t think they are in the best interest of us getting through an entire season.”
The NFLPA asked its players last Saturday to stop holding private workouts as COVID-19 cases began to rise in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona. Brady and his teammates have been working out at a local high school in Tampa, while Matthew Stafford was also seen throwing to Lions teammates in videos posted to social media Thursday.
The memo came after a 49ers player who had been working out with his teammates in Nashville tested positive. At least two Buccaneers and an assistant coach have also recently tested positive.
“Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts,” NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer wrote in the letter. “Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.
“We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season, and believe that it is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before training camp commences.”
But that hasn’t stopped Brady and Stafford from continuing to hold workouts to prepare for a season that may or may not happen. The NFL and NFLPA still have issues to work out regarding how coronavirus cases will be dealt with during the potential season.
“All of the things that players may want to do during the offseason have a direct impact on how well we can negotiate protections for them once the season starts,” Smith said. “When you look at the risk factors for COVID-19 — high (body mass index), sleep apnea, asthma, players that are prone to blood clots — that’s our membership.
“For some of the players who’ve practiced, we’ve made sure they’ve heard the message.”
It’s not clear that Brady has, though. Instead he posted a message to his Instagram on Thursday quoting former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“‘Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ -FDR” Brady wrote.