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Previewing Football Season: NFL Sets Thursday Opt-Out Deadline, Pac-12 Players Pen Unity Letter With List Of Demands




 Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works out during a practice at AdventHealth Training Center on August 04, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works out during a practice at AdventHealth Training Center on August 04, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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NFL players who decide to opt out of the coming season must do so by Thursday afternoon, a person familiar with the agreement between the league and the players told The Associated Press.

There also are opt-out provisions for players who experience emergency or extenuating circumstances during the season due to the coronavirus, the person said, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the changes to the collective bargaining agreement have not been made public. Those provisions would cover a player with a severe family situation related to COVID-19 or if he is diagnosed with a high-risk condition after Thursday's deadline. Any player who opts out and is in the high-risk category will receive a $350,000 stipend for 2020, with his contract paused. Players in the voluntary opt-out category will get $150,000 in the form of an advance on a contract.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 responded Monday to football players who have threatened to opt-out of the season because of concerns related to health and safety, racial injustice and economic rights with a letter touting the conference’s work in those areas and an invitation to meet later this week. A letter from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, dated Aug. 3, was sent to 12 football players leading the #WeAreUnited movement. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press and first reported by Sports Illustrated. The players say they have been communicating with more than 400 of their peers throughout the Pac-12. The group released a lengthy list of demands Sunday and said if they are not addressed they will not practice or play. The group said it reached out to the Pac-12 on Sunday to request a meeting. In the letter, Scott said he was eager to discuss their concerns. The #WeAreUnited players' demands focused on four areas: health and safety protections, especially protocols related to COVID-19; guarding against the elimination of sports programs by schools during an economic downturn; ending racial injustice in college sports; and economic freedom and equity.

Guests:

Kavitha A. Davidson, host of “The Lead” podcast from The Athletic and Wondery Media; she tweets @kavithadavidson

Kyle Bonagura, staff writer for ESPN covering college football; he tweets @BonaguraESPN