With doubts surrounding the 2020 college football season, several players and coaches have taken to social media over the past few weeks to express their interest in having a season this year. The hashtag #WeWantToPlay started to become more popular on Sunday evening but things really took off on Monday as prominent players such as Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence started to explain a little bit more about what the movement was asking for.

The first part is the obvious part. These players want to get out on the field.

That part of things certainly made one side of the debate fly with optimism as those people suddenly cared what these athletes had to say because they were actually agreeing with them. It was all about siding with the athletes because it was for “the love of the game.”

But that same group was not feeling so secure about siding with the players once more details came out.

What came as a surprise to many people checking their phones after waking up Monday morning was it was about more than demanding a season. As we have seen all year, those athletes were using their voices and platform to make sure they could get a safe and fair environment to play the sport they love and desperately want to play.

The graphic that was going around with the hashtag started with the statement “We all want to play football this season” which should be obvious but it has to be said because there are people blaming players, coaches and media members when they express concerns over COVID-19 for rooting against having a season despite football being their livelihoods.

The interesting part came after that though. The graphic showed more statements that could be taken as demands from 

the players including establishing procedures to protect all athletes against the coronavirus, giving players the opportunity to keep eligibility if they decide to opt out of the season and even create a college football players association.

The players want to play but instead of going back to normal like some fans want, they are taking advantage of this opportunity to create a better normal, helping to secure a safer environment for current and future players.

#WeWantToPlay certainly confused some people and I have to admit it was fun seeing those confused people use it without knowing what they were siding with. But I’m not sure it was the best way to go about fighting for a season.

I agree with every statement on that graphic and at a certain point, the players’ desire to have a season should be important in the NCAA making a decision in the same way players not wanting to play should be allowed. However, the want should not be anywhere close to the main factor.

There are clearly still some concerns over a global pandemic (which has become more like an American pandemic at this point) and providing a safe environment needs to be well above anyone’s want to play in the decision-making process.

My biggest problem with using this phrase is realizing how much of a slap in the face it is to all those spring sports athletes who saw their seasons get wiped away in order to slow down this virus before it really got going.

You don’t think they wanted to play? Or was their want just not as important to you? 

Maybe football provides enough entertainment to you it doesn’t matter about the risks — which kind of describes a bulk of football fans anyway. And that’s not OK.

I want to see a fall sports season this year and I am happy to see so many players speak up about their passion to play their sports. But until we can guarantee a way to slow down the virus or provide a safe environment for these kids to play in, “want to play” shouldn’t even be in the discussion when it comes to having a season. 

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.