The Olympics will be making a comeback in Los Angeles in 2028, and there’s an exciting addition to the roster – flag football. While this sport is gaining popularity worldwide, concerns are arising about the potential consequences for current NFL players. Will they be compensated by their teams if they get injured while participating in Olympic flag football?
One incident that sheds light on this issue is former New England Patriots running back Robert Edwards’ career-ending knee injury. Edwards suffered this devastating blow during a beach football game associated with the 1998 Pro Bowl. This raises the question of whether NFL teams would be willing to continue paying injured players if they participate in Olympic flag football.
However, teams may be hesitant to waive the current clause preventing players from engaging in any form of football outside their team. This clause is in place to protect the teams’ investments in their players. Even if a league-wide compensation pool were established, teams would still risk losing valuable players to potential injuries.
According to Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, team owners are more cautious than league officials when it comes to the idea of current players competing in flag football at the Olympics. The league and its teams have five years to find a solution, but it remains uncertain whether any owner will be willing to take the risk of losing a key player to an Olympic flag-football injury.
Players’ protection is crucial, as they face the possibility of lost revenue resulting from unexpected injuries that could impact or end their careers. One potential approach to mitigate this risk could be to recruit free agents and recently-retired players for the U.S. flag-football team. This strategy would minimize the potential impact on high-level current players.
As the countdown to the Olympics in Los Angeles 2028 begins, the focus is not only on the excitement of flag football’s inclusion but also on the consequences for NFL players. It remains to be seen whether teams will agree to continue paying injured players and strike a balance between protecting their investments and supporting athletes’ aspirations.
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