The New England Patriots have reportedly come up with a very generous policy regarding their season ticket holders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the world continues to navigate the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus and its impact on daily life as we all know it, the New England Patriots have reportedly come up with a plan that should become the standard for all 32 NFL teams this season — assuming, of course, there is a season to be played still.
With the release of the full regular season and preseason schedule on Thursday, the league sent a strong message about how optimistic and bullish they are about the season being played in some capacity.
The NBA and NHL have both suspended their seasons and are currently attempting to figure out a way to finish both. Major League Baseball delayed the start of their season and are now reportedly looking at a July start date.
The NFL carried forward with free agency and the draft like planned, albeit with substantial modifications to how both events took place this year in the wake of the health crisis. Next up is the grand finale of the “offseason”: OTAs, minicamps, training camps, and then the preseason.
It’s unknown how exactly all of it will go down, though so far, all team workouts and training programs scheduled for May have been either canceled or made virtual.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated during the schedule release event that the league will maintain constant and open communication with health professionals in the hopes that the regular season can go on as planned.
Possibilities include testing players, coaches, staffers, etc on a routine basis; playing games without fans; shortening the season altogether; and many other potential modifications based on how severe or mild the pandemic is by the time September rolls around.
In the meantime, the Patriots have decided to allow season ticket holders with pre-existing health conditions who don’t plan on attending home games this year to get their money back in full. Additionally, the team will protect their seats for the 2021 season should those same individuals want to return then.
This news all comes via Sportico’s Scott Soshnick.
Assuming all of this is true, the other 31 teams in the NFL should follow suit immediately and issue similar proclamations to their season ticket holders and fans.
The Patriots get a lot of bad press for when their players, coaches, or executives are accused of crossing the line and/or doing something unethical (Spygate, Deflategate, Spagate, Spygate 2.0, etc.).
It’s only fitting that when New England as a franchise makes headlines for doing something commendable — such as when team owner Robert Kraft donated masks to New York City’s Javits Center temporary hospital — that those same stories get just as much publication, circulation, and attention … if not more.
The Patriots did the right thing in allowing their most loyal fans — the season ticket holders — to miss this year without incurring financial penalty if they don’t feel comfortable going to the games.
Now, it’s up to the rest of the NFL teams — as well as teams in the NBA, NHL, and MLB, for that matter — to do something similar with their constituencies.