The New Orleans Saints drew attention this week for creating what some are referring to as a bubble around their training camp. New York Giants coach Joe Judge, who has consistently referred to the responsibility everyone in the organization has towards each other, doesn’t believe a “bubble” exists in the NFL.
“To be honest with you if it’s not completely isolated like the NBA and the NHL are working in it’s not a bubble. It’s really just a way of having training camp and trying to stay isolated,” Judge said during a videoconference on Wednesday. “If it was a non-COVID year we’d be trying to keep the team as isolated as could be, just to keep the focus on what we’re doing and build that training camp atmosphere that we have to have.”
The Giants have a team hotel used for training camp. Many players and coaches are staying there, but no one is forced to.
“I’m not mandating any coaches stay in the hotel. Obviously by the league rules no player is mandated to stay in the hotel. Our players can either opt-in or opt-out of the hotel stay,” Judge said.
“The ones that are in the hotel have a curfew. We’ve expressed to the ones that are on the outside that they have to make the right decisions when they’re away from the building in terms of how they structure their nights.
“The biggest message I’ve had to everybody, whether it’s my coaches, the support staff, the players, it’s not about being in a bubble this year. That doesn’t exist. It’s about making the right decisions away from the building and making sure we don’t bring something into the building.”
That is a message Judge delivered last week. He hammered it home again on Wednesday.
“I said this last time. Personally it’s not my right to go out and get something to eat and put myself in an atmosphere where I may bring something back to the team and cost them an opportunity on what they want. That’s not my right, I’m not entitled to do that. We have to understand that all of our decisions impact each other,” he said.
“We have people on this team, players and coaches that have wives and children. Everyone wants to go home and see their wife and children. I want to go see mine as much as I can. The reality is there are sacrifices we’re going to have to make this year. If that means I have to spend a little bit less time or make sure that I don’t surround with other loved ones who aren’t going by the same guidelines I’m operating under on a daily basis then that’s a sacrifice we have to make. That’s not easy ...
“I’m not suggesting that people don’t see their families. I am suggesting that everybody on the team and family away from the team that we’re going to see has to make decisions responsibly to account for the sacrifice of being part of the National Football League this year. That’s just a reality. We have to all understand that.”