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Ohio State football players voice support for COVID-19 safety measures in letter

Joey Kaufman
jkaufman@dispatch.com
Ohio State's Tuf Borland speaks to the media after being named one of seven team captains last Augist.

A group of Ohio State football players released a letter Friday that supported the health and safety protocols established by the school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter, which was shared by several team captains on social media, was written in response to a "Big Ten United" movement that began earlier this week.

An advocacy group called College Athlete Unity published an essay on the Players’ Tribune that called for more stringent safety measures on behalf of 1,000-plus players from the conference.

The Buckeyes who wrote the letter said they appreciated the efforts to protect athletes of athletes throughout the Big Ten and voice their concerns, but it did not represent their experience at Ohio State since returning to campus for workouts in June.

“While there are still plenty of questions to be answered and plans to be made in order to compete this fall, we believe that our safety has been at the forefront of our institution's efforts for return to play models,” the letter read.

The players said they trusted decisions from athletic director Gene Smith and team physician Dr. Jim Borchers as they instituted measures based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments.

The shared graphic was signed only by, “The Ohio State University Student Athletes.”

On Thursday, the Buckeyes went through their first practice of training camp in preparation for the upcoming season.

In writing the letter, they reiterated their hope to take the field this fall despite the pandemic and pushed back on claims that they were being taken advantage of as amateur athletes.

“It has been said that college athletes are being 'exploited' not only in the state letter but also in the media,” the letter read. “We recognize there are risks. But we have all chosen to be here and want the chance to play this fall. We know that there is still a long way to go as plans continue to change everybody, but we have a consistent voice in the discussion.”

The letter can be read here, as first shared in a tweet by senior linebacker Tuf Borland.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman

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