Deion Sanders gave his personal take on those professional athletes who’ve decided to opt out of the current or upcoming season because of COVID-19. His opinion was met with a sizable amount of backlash from at least one player who decided to sit out and people who generally disagree with him.
The CBS Sports analyst, who played in the NFL and Major League Baseball, created the hubbub about players sitting out while on Twitter, Friday, Aug. 7.
“All Players OPTING out in all sports PLEASE BELIEVE the game will go on without u,” he tweeted. “This is a business & don’t u EVER forget that. There’s NO ONE that’s bigger than the game itself. Only the ref,umps & officials are that important that u can’t play without them. NOT YOU! #Truth.”
“I’m much more concerned with EVERYDAY men & woman doing what they have to do to make ends meet,” Sanders wrote in a separate tweet. “Most people have NO OPTION of choosing to go to work or stay in the comfort & safety of their environment. Have u forgotten your parents & family members can’t opt out? #Truth.”
One person who quickly shot back at Sanders was Sherrilyn Ifill, president & director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“This is so disappointing,” she tweeted on Friday. “So, these young men and women should risk their long term health or lives because ‘the game will go on’? I know that you know that the game is not life. And life is precious, as is sound health.”
“Who said they shouldn’t?” Sanders replied. “I pointed out they should know it’s a business and they will play this game regardless sis. U forgot I played for 14 years huh. You read and interpret what u desire to. Only way they don’t play is without refs. That’s simple right? With or without u or me.”
Former NFL player George Wrighster III was another person who said Sanders was wrong.
“This ain’t it Deion,” wrote Wrighster. “You were one of the players who paved the way for players to have power, monetize their brand, not conform, or just accept anything old thing teams give you. Now you are telling players to compromise their health w/so much uncertainty or money?”
“When did u hear me say that,” Sanders wrote back. “You view of what u read is based off of your thoughts and assumptions. Read it Slowly and truly think about what I’m saying.”
Sanders’ tweets come nearly a month after a large group of NFL players expressed concern on Twitter about returning to training camp, which is already underway.
Yahoo! Sports reports that about 70 NFL players have chosen to opt out of the 2020 NFL season because of the virus.
Some of college football’s best players have also opted out, including Penn State defensive end Micah Parsons, and Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Arley — both who are expected to be future first-round NFL Draft picks.
In the NBA, which resumed play on July 30, several players, including the Los Angeles Lakers’ Avery Bradley, opted out because of the virus. Meanwhile, in Major League Baseball, Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers is just one of the players who chose to sit out this season.
The NFL’s season starts on Sept. 10, and Allen Hurns of the Miami Dolphins has opted out because of the pandemic. He was another person who responded to Sanders.
“Dam you act like we said to cancel the season because we opted out,” Hurns tweeted on Friday. “I want the season to go on & for it to be safe for all my brothers. I did what’s best for me & my situation, this ain’t got anything to do with nobody else. I’m at peace knowing I did what’s best for my family.”