The NFL is trying to figure out ways to mitigate the risk of a lawsuit if fans are allowed back into stadiums. In order to do that, the league is considering asking fans to sign a COVID-19 liability waiver if they want to attend games, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.
That proposal is expected to be sent to teams in early July as the league considers its options for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. The waiver could be done electronically, according to Kaplan’s report.
While the NFL is moving ahead with training camps as planned, the issue of attendance hasn’t been determined yet. The NFL has indicated it wants to proceed with fans in the stands, though league EVP Troy Vincent said the NFL will be flexible based on recommendations from health officials. At least one team — the Pittsburgh Steelers — made only 50 percent of their tickets available in case fans are required to follow social distancing rules.
The issue of safety and best practices regarding fans may come down to each individual team, one frustrated AFC executive told Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson in June.
“The question about fans is going to end up being a choice left up to [teams] — actually, I should say pretty much all the questions on the fan attendance,” one frustrated AFC executive said this week. “We haven’t heard anything [from the league]. Hopefully that changes [Thursday], because we have a lot of questions.”
Fans hoping to attend games shouldn’t expect to sit in the front row. The NFL will block off the front rows in each stadium for advertisements, according to Robinson. That will allow the league to make more money if stadiums can only be at partial capacity.
While nothing has been finalized yet, talk of a waiver suggests the NFL will green light fans attending games depending on local and state guidelines. If that happens, it sounds like fans will have to acknowledge the risk they are taking by going to games during a pandemic before they can attend.
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