On a day when positive coronavirus tests flooded the professional sports world, one collegiate program is asking for protection from its head coach.
A piece published by J. Brady McCollough of the Los Angeles Times Friday afternoon claims that 30 UCLA football players are backing a document that claims the athletes don't trust head coach Chip Kelly to follow safety protocols.
Per McCollough, the document claims "UCLA has 'perpetually failed us,' citing 'neglected and mismanaged injury cases.'" It asks that a "third-party health official" attend all activities, such as voluntary workouts, to ensure Kelly and others follow recommended guidelines and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also requests that players not be forced into training during a worldwide pandemic.
According to McCollough, one UCLA player said:
"Now, with this, what people don’t understand is, they say there’s a .1% chance of somebody dying, but last time I checked, that .1% has to be somebody. We’re going to come to a point where a college player will literally have to die from COVID-19 for someone to understand what’s going on. I hope it doesn’t have to reach that point."
Some UCLA players expressed a willingness to boycott practices and even games.
UCLA players are expected to report to facilities for training on Monday.
Earlier this month, Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley voiced concerns some of his peers might try to ignore guidelines for voluntary sessions during this unprecedented time:
"Sadly, in our college game, 'voluntary' has always been a very loose term. The reality of the matter is there's different institutions and there's different conferences that allow you to do a different amount, or some just look the other way.
"It's unfortunate that that's what it's come to right now, but we have other parts of our year where that's always been an issue, and it's well-known across coaches, players across the country, that's a rule that's applied very differently different places and in different parts of the country."
On Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Francisco 49ers, and PGA Tour were all among organizations that reported positive COVID-19 tests.