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Odell Beckham Jr.: NFL season shouldn't happen, team owners 'don't see us as human'

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Odell Beckham Jr. does not think the NFL should hold a 2020 season, saying it doesn’t make sense given the state of the world and is “obviously for their money.”

The Cleveland Browns wide receiver spoke with Lane Florsheim of the Wall Street Journal before players were to report to training camp.

“Obviously with everything that's going on, it doesn't make sense why we're trying to do this,” Beckham said.

Odell Beckham Jr. throws gloves in front of an open stadium.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. does not believe the 2020 NFL season should happen. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Beckham: Obviously NFL season is for franchise owners’ money

Beckham told the Wall Street Journal the world is not ready to have an NFL season and said he believes it’s strictly moving forward only to line team owners’ pockets.

“We're not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It's obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there's always been this—and I hate saying it like that—but the owners' [attitude is], 'Oh, we own you guys,' and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don't see us as human. I just feel like the season shouldn't happen and I'm prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn't mind not having it.”

Beckham is entering his seventh NFL season and second with the Browns, who had a disappointing 2019 season after high offseason praise. There have not been any Browns who have opted out yet.

Will Beckham opt out of season?

The opt-out list is growing daily as NFL players reportedly have until Wednesday to decide against playing. Beckham’s interview with the WSJ was done two weeks ago before the NFL and NFL Players Association reached an agreement on COVID-19 safety protocols.

It was also before he reported to the facility and saw the team’s safety measures, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported. He reportedly does not plan to opt out of the season, per the report. He reported to the team on time and has been a full participant in testing protocols.

Beckham on difference between NFL, NBA during COVID-19

Beckham noted that it’s a different situation for the NFL to return to play versus basketball, referencing the NBA.

“I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. Hooping is different than playing an 11-on-11 contact sport where there's 80 people in a locker room.”

The NBA is playing in a bubble at Disney World and shortened the conclusion of its regular season. It will jump into playoffs in two weeks. There are also about only 15 players in a locker room, there is far less contact and the league didn’t bring every team to Disney.

Other sports that were not nearing the end of their season are also playing again, but with a structure similar to the NBA. They are in bubble sites — other than MLB, which has run into problems with that — and have shortened their regular season. The NWSL and MLS opted for tournaments, while the WNBA dropped its season to 22 games in less than seven full weeks.

College football is also reckoning with how and if players should play this season. Pac-12 players joined together to issue demands and changes to help protect them now and in the future.

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