USC football players ask Newsom to let them practice

The players on the USC football team released a letter Tuesday asking for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow them to return to the practice field.

College football teams in California have been barred from returning to full-contact practices due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the country. USC and UCLA haven’t even been allowed to work out in their weight rooms due to county guidelines.

Though the Pac-12 has delayed its football season due to the pandemic, other schools in the conference have at least been able to practice.

“The current reality is that there are too many restrictions imposed by state and local public health officials in California that prevent us from resuming practices and competitions,” the USC players’ letter reads, pointing out that they still cannot practice in groups larger than 12.

The letter points out the Pac-12’s recent announcement that the conference was installing daily antigen testing with turnaround times of less than one hour, as well as the current conference protocols, as reasons to believe the schools in California can safely return to practices and games.

“From the onset of this pandemic, the Pac-12 has rightfully and responsibly maintained that their decisions would be based on science, and it now appears that the science and technology have turned in favor of playing,” the Trojan players wrote.

They continued, “Governor Newsom, our request of you is that you work with us – urgently and purposefully – to find a path forward for us to resume competitions later this fall so that we can have the same opportunity as other teams around the country to play for a national championship. We respect the careful and cautious approach you have taken to college athletics, and we have the utmost confidence that we can partner together to quickly develop a plan that allows us to compete in a 2020 fall football season. Let’s find a way to say ‘yes!’ Please let us play.”

The letter, first tweeted by Trojan receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, quickly received an endorsement from USC head coach Clay Helton.

“We will always celebrate and support the voice of our players,” Helton tweeted. “Proud of these young men.”

There has been a recent movement of players pushing for the chance to play after several conferences decided to wait until 2021 to resume college athletics in the face of coronavirus.

In the Big Ten, eight Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit against the conference seeking to change the decision to postpone the season.