Thirty UCLA football players have united in support behind a document they say will protect them as they return to campus amid the coronavirus pandemic — but what this says about Chip Kelly and the football program go beyond the virus itself.
According to J. Brady McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, the document asserts that players “do not trust coach Chip Kelly’s program to act in their best interest, particularly in regard to their health, a realm where it says UCLA has ‘perpetually failed us,’ citing ‘neglected and mismanaged injury cases.’ The document does not provide examples.
“The players demanded that a ‘third-party health official’ be on hand for all football activities to see that protocols for COVID-19 prevention are being followed; that anonymous whistleblower protections are provided for athletes and staff to report violations; and that each player can make a decision about whether to come back to Westwood without fear of losing his scholarship or other retaliation.
“These demands reflect our call for an environment in which we do not feel pressured to return to competition, and if we choose not to return, that our decision will be respected,” the document reads. “If our demands are not met, we will refrain from booster events, recruiting events and all football-related promotional activities.”