The NFL referees’ deadline to opt-out of the 2020 season due to health concerns stemming from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak comes Thursday.
Last week, the NFL Referees Association announced an agreement with the league on health and safety protections and the ability to opt-out of the season if the officials wanted to.
Any NFL game or replay official who has concerns about the coronavirus can voluntarily take a leave of absence from their 2020 responsibilities. The officials will be able to have their jobs guaranteed for the 2021 season.
Game officials, however, will receive a $30,000 payment if they decide to take the season off.
“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members,” NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green said in a news release last week. “Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the League that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.”
If a game official tests positive for coronavirus during the season, the union will treat it as an on-field injury and the individual will be entitled to injury pay, medical expenses and other benefits. If they experience the illness at a game site, the union said that medical expenses, lodging and travel will be covered.
It’s unclear whether any referees have decided to opt-out of the season.