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Marquise Goodwin explains opt out decision: “I won’t take the chance of experiencing another loss”

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Hear from the veteran Eagles wide receiver.

Cleveland Browns v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

News of Marquise Goodwin opting out of the 2020 NFL season broke earlier today and now we have an explanation straight from the source. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver had the following to say during a video posted to his YouTube channel. You can watch the entire thing below and read on for a transcription:

“I wrote something out but I feel like it would be better for y’all to see me and just get it straight from the heart. So I’ma just give y’all what people been asking for. So here’s my statement.

It’s truly, truly a blessing and a privilege to be able to play football, the game that I love so much and have been blessed to play since I was nine years of age. The NFL organization provides my family and I with many opportunities that I wouldn’t have been presented in other industries. Traveling to several states per year and traveling internationally to play on foreign soil has allowed me to gain an appreciation for different cultures and a wider world view perspective. The NFL organization has allowed me to create a platform I’ve always dreamed of and allows me to reach numerous people in different stages of life.

I’ve chosen to opt out of playing in the 2020-2021 season this year and here’s why. Three years ago I made a decision that affected my whole life. 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.

The following year in the same month, the same week, our lives took another traumatic turn. Two weeks after learning that her abdominal cerclage was failing, my wife called me shortly after I arrived in our team hotel in Tampa, Florida, to inform me she was having painful contractions and my grandma, who flew up to help take of [my wife] Morgan while I would go to work at away games, had to rush her to the ER. Here we are again in the same predicament as a year ago except I was almost 3,000 miles away. Anxiety overtook me as I again had to make a similar decision. Would I choose to play again like everyone may expect me to do? Or do I go home and tend to my ailing wife? Nevertheless, I told our GM at the time that I absolutely had to fly back and honor my wedding vows that I made to her, myself, and God. We lost our twin boys. We had three angel babies to watch as their heartbeats grew more and more faint by the minute until it stopped. I’m holding these babies, y’all, and I’m seeing my babies heartbeats grow weaker and weaker. Like, imagine that. You know what I’m saying?

After those loses, I was expected to perform on the gridiron. Soon, I was losing excitement to play the game. Like, 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 patting me on the back and soothing me and getting me right while she’s at home. Some may not understand as they may not have to deal with this issue. It made me vulnerable. I didn’t know how to cope with the loss of babies. I’ve always wanted kids, I’ve always wanted babies, but still we came home with no babies.

My game decreased. I started playing less. I was getting injured. I was losing weight. I wasn’t the same vibrant soul in the football facility like I once was. I was mad, I felt like I should be at home helping my best friend get past the grief. Therefore I could be THE Marquise Goodwin, the guy I was on the field my first season in San Fran, except better.

Onward to February 2019, our lives changed for the better as we finally were blessed to bring home our first living baby, our rainbow baby. (Goodwin brings his daughter over) Alright, y’all. This right here, this is my reason. She is the reason I’m opting out for the season. 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.

It’s known that the NFL is implementing protocols to combat COVID pandemic as well as other professional leagues. I won’t take the chance of experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision-making. I can’t do it.

Therefore, I’ve chosen to opt out for playing only for this [2020] season or until medical professionals all around the world agree it’s a safe environment for everyone and not just NFL players. I will not play the 2020-2021 NFL football season. I am asking everyone to respect my decision and it is my hope that you stay safe through these unprecedented times.”

[…]

“It doesn’t mean that I don’t love football. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be an Eagle. It doesn’t mean anything than besides the fact that I’m protecting [my wife and daughter.] These are my pride and joy. I live for these two, I die for these two.”

It’s impossible to blame Goodwin for wanting to do what he feels is best for his family. They’ve clearly been through a lot over the past few years.

Goodwin’s opt out means he will either qualify for a $350,000 stipend (high risk) or a $150,000 cash advance (voluntary). His one-year, $1.35 million contract with an additional $1 million available in incentives originally intended for 2020 will now toll over to the 2021 season.