Following the announcement from UCLA that athletes could return to the campus to begin training for fall sports, 30 Bruins football players, one being quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, reportedly have sent a letter to the school administrators documenting their distrust of the program and demands for a third-party health official to ensure their health and safety.
According to Los Angeles Times’ J. Brady McCollough the program has had a history of mismanaging injury cases and they no longer trust the program to have their best interests in mind. The athletes are also calling for the protection of their scholarships if they don’t wish to return amid concerns.
With voluntary workouts slated to start this upcoming Monday, June 22, these 30 athletes seem contempt to hoof out until their safety can be assured by a professional health official not affiliated with the school. Embed in the document was the following statement about their decision to take this stand.
“The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurance that also us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision.”
The school’s athletic officials have been reported by UCLA’s senior associate athletic director, Matt Elliot, to be meeting daily for the past couple of weeks to prepare for issues upon return to campus. However, this isn’t enough for the players who according to one anonymous UCLA player voiced his concern for his life.
“We put our lives at risk every single time we put on that helmet. 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.”
UCLA has had months of planning to ensure their staff and players’ safety upon the return to workouts and it seems that they haven’t done much to prepare from the players’ perceptive. It’ll be interesting to see how the school and program handle this situation and if football is played at UCLA at all this year.