Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs has become the first National Football League player to announce that he is opting out of playing the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life but I must follow my convictions and do what I believe is right for me personally," wrote the 29-year-old native of Mont St. Hilaire, Que., on his social media accounts, Friday evening. "That is why I have decided to take the 'Opt Out Option' negotiated by the League and the (Players Association) and officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season."
Duvernay-Tardif, who played for McGill from 2010 through 2013 and graduated from the university's medical school in 2018, signed a four-year contract extension three years ago that would have paid him a base salary of $2.75 million U.S. this season.
"Being on the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system" he added. "I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients."