Ohio State star Justin Fields starts petition urging Big Ten to play football this fall
The Big Ten may have already nixed the idea of playing football amid the coronavirus crisis this fall, but one of its biggest stars is urging the conference to reconsider.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields launched a petition Sunday on MoveOn.org, reiterating the #WeWantToPlay hashtag that became a rallying cry for many college football players last week as their conferences determined whether to start the 2020 season in September.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to postpone the season in the hopes of being able to play in the spring. The Southeastern, Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences are continuing with plans to begin the season as scheduled.
“I think if the SEC, ACC and Big 12 all feel like we can have a season safely, I think we can do the same thing in the Big Ten,” Fields said Monday on ESPN Radio.
With no player-led movements calling for coronavirus safeguards, lawyers for the SEC, Big-12 and ACC are comfortable with holding a college football season.
He added: “I honestly believe all the coaches and all the parents, players want us to play, and they all feel safe with the guidelines Ohio State has set.”
As a true sophomore last season, Fields led the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title and into the College Football Playoffs, where they lost 29-23 to eventual champion Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and finished the season with 3,273 passing yards with 41 touchdowns and three interceptions and 484 rushing yards with 10 more touchdowns.
His petition, posted Sunday morning, had been signed by more than 230,000 people — including Ohio State center Josh Myers and Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds — less than 24 hours later.
“We want to play,” Fields stated in the petition. “We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future. Don’t let our hard work and sacrifice be in vain. #LetUsPlay!”
A Big Ten spokesperson told ESPN the conference is aware of the petition but has no comment on it.
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