The Baltimore Ravens will not be attending voluntary OTAs, according to a statement collectively released by the players. This boycott stems from a perceived lack of safety regarding in-person practices during the COVID pandemic. The Ravens are far from the first team to boycott the practices, and they probably won’t be the last.
NFL News: Baltimore Ravens Will Not Attend OTAs
The Baltimore Ravens players are joining an ever-increasing group of players that do not believe in-person OTAs are worth the risk of possibly contracting the COVID-19 virus. While vaccines are starting to be administered around the country, most of the league has not had the chance to be fully vaccinated as of this posting. Because of this, the players’ union wants to OTA’s to remain fully virtual, just like they were a season ago. The NFL, however, is looking to have in-person practices, with social distancing and other precautions enforced as they deem necessary.
As previously mentioned, the Baltimore Ravens are not the first team to choose this course of action. The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the first to make this announcement, and several teams have joined in recent days. For example, the San Francisco 49ers made a similar announcement earlier today, and many other teams will probably follow suit. In the official team statement, the Ravens players say that a part of the reason for the boycott is to stand in solidarity with their fellow NFL brethren.
While in-person OTAs would obviously be ideal, it’s completely understandable why the players do not feel the risk is worth the award. For one, COVID-19 is still rapidly spreading, and most NFL players have yet to receive both vaccines. Last year’s OTA’s were fully virtual, and the NFLPA has pointed to the overall success of the season as proof that virtual OTA’s can still lead to a successful NFL season. And, lastly, these practices were completely optional in the first place, so skipping them isn’t that big of a deal.
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