Marquise Goodwin, a wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles, has announced he won’t play in the upcoming NFL season in order to protect his wife and baby daughter from the coronavirus.
Goodwin, a seven-year veteran who’s played the last three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, explained his decision in a YouTube video in which he discussed how he had previously placed football ahead of his family when his wife lost babies in two separate pregnancies.
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This past February, the couple welcomed a baby girl, Marae.
“Three years ago, I made a decision that affected my whole life," Goodwin said in the emotional video, which he posted Tuesday. "I chose to leave my wife at the hospital after prematurely birthing our first baby due to incompetent cervix, which resulted in a fatality, to play in a football game.
"I felt like I had to prove to my coaches and new team that I was dedicated to winning and I wouldn’t let anything keep me from that goal, not even my family," he said.
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Goodwin said he found himself in a similar position a year later while when his wife, who was pregnant again, had to go to the emergency room while he was on the road.
“We lost our twin boys," he recalled. "We have three angel babies to hold and watch as their little heartbeats grew more and more faint by the minute until it stopped."
“Soon, I began to lose excitement for playing the game,” he added. “It was all I could think about. My wife at home. She didn’t have a pregnant belly anymore, nobody to cling to, no shoulder to cry on, no one to talk to, while I’m at work getting the love and everybody just patting me on the back.”
Goodwin, 29, said he was racked with guilt.
“I was mad. I felt that I should be at home helping my best friend get past the grief.”
In one moment, as his daughter appeared in the video frame, Goodwin, who was traded to the Eagles in April, explained he had to take a stand on her behalf.
“This right here, this is my reason. She is the reason I’m opting out for this season,” he said. “After choosing football so many times, I feel like I’m inclined to make the right decision by finally choosing my family first and that’s real talk.”
He acknowledged the NFL is taking measures to keep players safe from the coronavirus, but felt the risks were too great.
“I won’t take the chance of experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision making. I can’t do it. It’s not something I’m willing to live with,” he said. “Therefore, I’ve chosen to opt out of playing only for this season or until medical professionals across the world all agree that the world is a safe environment for everyone and not just NFL players.”
“My priority is to take care of these two,” he said.
On Wednesday, Goodwin said people have reached out to him, blasting his decision to sit out.
“I’ve gotten so many messages and (comments) from 'concerned' fans telling me how stupid I am and that this COVID-19 isn’t that serious... I bet my bank account that there are 150k dead people that would argue different,” he tweeted.