Report: UCLA players demand 'third-party health official' upon return citing lack of trust in Chip Kelly to act in their best interest
If the latest report out of Los Angeles is accurate, it may be time for UCLA to start looking for a new coach.
After achieving an incredible level of success running the Oregon program, the Chip Kelly era at UCLA has been nothing short of a massive disappointment thus far after two years. However, just when Kelly’s 7-17 record with the Bruins looked like the worst thing attached to the coach’s name, there’s a new report that is far more damning.
According to J. Brady McCollough of the Los Angeles Times, 30 UCLA players recently met virtually to discuss their return to campus in anticipation of the upcoming season. By the end of the meeting, the players decided they would refuse to return to UCLA’s campus unless a “third-party health official” is installed at UCLA to examine their health.
The players are also asking for protections for any players or coaches that report violations that take place at UCLA and the ability to stay away from campus and not lose their athletic scholarship if any players make that decision.
The reason for these requests? The players do not believe Kelly will act in their best interest based on their previous experiences with the coach. According to the report, the players said Kelly “perpetually failed us,” and noted he has “neglected and mismanaged injury cases” during his time at UCLA.
No specific examples of these allegations were provided to the Los Angeles Times. UCLA’s players are scheduled to return to campus on Monday.
The players did, however, issue a statement and provided it to the news outlet.
“These demands reflect our call for an environment in which we do not feel pressured to return to competition, and if we choose not to return, that our decision will be respected. If our demands are not met, we will refrain from booster events, recruiting events and all football-related promotional activities.
“The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurances that allow us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision.”
UCLA’s projected starting quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, is listed among the 30 players that provided this statement to the LA Times.
If this action reflects the level of team-wide buy-in Kelly has at UCLA entering his third year with the program, it may be time for the Bruins to pull the plug on the coach and start fresh.