Some of the New York Giants players and staff have been isolated at a hotel near MetLife Stadium during training camp, and while head coach Joe Judge can’t enforce a bubble, he believes it’s an important “sacrifice” that should be taken.
The first-year head coach spoke to reporters Wednesday about the measures the Giants have been taking to ensure player safety in the midst of a pandemic. Judge said the team’s decision to reserve several floors of a nearby hotel is nowhere near an actual bubble but serves as an added level of safety.
“I read the same article about the kind of pseudo-bubble some teams are trying to create,” Judge said, according to the New York Post. “To be honest with you, if it’s not completely isolated like the NBA and NHL are working in, it’s not a bubble. It’s really just a way of having training camp and trying to stay isolated.”
Because of an agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, teams cannot require players to isolate in a hotel, but Judge said keeping players isolated during training camps is nothing new.
“If it was a non-COVID year, we would be trying to keep the team as isolated as can be just to keep the focus on what we’re doing and build that training camp atmosphere,” he explained. “Our players can either opt in or opt out of a hotel stay. The ones that are in have a curfew. We’ve expressed to the ones on the outside that they have to make the right decisions when they are away from the building in terms of how they structure their nights.”
“It’s not about being in a bubble this year,” he continued. “That doesn’t exist. Personally, it’s not my right to go out and get something to eat and put myself in an atmosphere where I may bring something back to the team and cost them an opportunity on what they want.”
Judge said he understands wanting to be around family and the difficulty of having to make the decision to either play or spend time at home.
“That’s a sacrifice we have to make. That’s not easy.”
Judge isn’t the only one who is putting the weight of the season on player responsibility.
New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson told reporters Wednesday that players need to step up and make the right decision if the NFL season is to be played out in full.
“Guys are used to going out and doing what they want to do,” he said. “It’s going to take some maturity for guys to be smart and not party and try to keep to themselves.”