Mark Davis, Raiders players upset with Browns game postponement originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
And the Raiders aren’t too thrilled with the league’s decision.
Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez that the postponement puts the Raiders at a “competitive disadvantage,” citing that Las Vegas had been preparing to play the road matchup on a short week and will now have to play their Week 16 game on a short week.
“Health and safety is always No. 1, but it’s tough,” Davis said. “Maybe Cleveland should travel [to Las Vegas]. That would make it more fair.”
A few Raiders players took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the postponement as well.
Cornerback Casey Hayward added: “Straight bulls***!!! @NFL why didn’t you change it for the Broncos or the Raiders last year?”
Hayward then seemed to call out NFLPA president JC Tretter, who is Cleveland’s starting center:
With both teams vying to make the postseason in the AFC, the battle between the 6-7 Raiders and 7-6 Browns will have significant playoff implications.
As of Friday evening, the Browns had a total of 24 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including their top two quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, four other starters on offense and four defensive starters. Head coach Kevin Stefanski is also currently away from the team after testing positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Raiders, who Davis says have a 100 percent vaccination rate, have zero players on the COVID list.
The NFL had not postponed any games this season prior to Friday, but ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio reported Thursday night that the NFLPA was “aggressively pushing” for Raiders-Browns to be moved due to Cleveland’s dire COVID situation.
The league also postponed two games originally scheduled for Sunday, Washington Football Team-Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams, to Tuesday night. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m. ET. Washington and Los Angeles, like Cleveland, have more than 20 players on the COVID list.
“From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, our focus has been to play our games in a safe and responsible way, consistent with the best available medical and public health advice, based on protocols jointly developed and implemented with the NFL Players Association,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo to all 32 teams on Friday (h/t NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). “A key element of our success to date has been our commitment to working with our union and our respective medical experts to make needed adjustments in response to changing conditions.
“The emergence of the omicron variant is precisely the kind of change that warrants a flexible response. Based on medical advice, we have instituted additional protocols as well as revised testing protocols for reinstating players and staff who have tested positive. We have also considered whether certain games should be rescheduled in light of current conditions.”
The Browns will have an even quicker turnaround than the Raiders for Week 16, as Cleveland is set to visit the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, Dec. 25. The Raiders host the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 26.