A growing number of Premier League players do not want to play football during the coronavirus crisis in what is a major blow to the league's hopes of resuming the 2019-20 season, sources have told ESPN.
In a significant setback to the league's Project Restart scheme to get elite football underway after play was suspended on March 13, players across numerous Premier League teams have severe reservations about playing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Of all the things I didn't expect to see come across my timeline, this is certainly at the top. Maybe I'm just out of the loop but I would've figured that the players were itching to get back. At least, that's how it seems amongst other sports leagues amongst the world. I've seen NBA players that want to be able to come and play playoffs, MLB players wish they were on the diamond, etc.
Most of that is based on winning though. It's not like you'll see 17th place Bournemouth come out with bells and whistles on, ready to play in the middle of a global pandemic. You're more likely to see players from a club like top-of-the-table Liverpool come out and ask questions. That's just how the world works. Winners want to win and losers don't really care.
Obviously the teams who aren't really competing won't really mind if the rest of their season gets canceled. It just means they won't have to risk catching coronavirus because of their sport. Maybe the Premier League players that don't want the league to come back ASAP figure it's not worth the risk so that they can just watch Liverpool win the league in two games.
One source at a Premier League club told ESPN: "A lot of players are very uncomfortable with coming back.
"The only way the league takes this seriously is when someone at a club dies. We will look back on this time with sadness in the future."
That seems rather heavy but it's true. It'll have to take something very drastic to derail the return of any sports league in the world. Everyone - including yours truly - has been dying for sports to come back, just to have something to look forward to other than going to bed every day.
I honestly don't really blame the players for not wanting to rush back. Nobody wants to be the first athlete to catch coronavirus all because their league came back prematurely. If I was a player, it would no sense coming back until the league had the utmost certainty that no players/staff will be safe. I'm not a scientist so I don't exactly know what needs to occur
All I know is that it's still probably a good amount of time until we see anything come back in the sports world. It should be interesting to see if any other players across the sports league feel the same way and how they choose to voice their concerns.