Marquise Goodwin is opting out of the 2020-2021 NFL season to spend time with his family.
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver announced his decision in a candid video posted to his YouTube channel on Tuesday, explaining that both his difficult road to parenthood with wife Morgan and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have had a profound impact on how he is handling his career at the moment.
"Three years ago, I made a decision that affected my whole life," Goodwin, 29, began his statement, going on to explain of the tragic incident in which Morgan delivered their son at 19 weeks gestation, "I chose to leave my wife at the hospital after prematurely birthing our first baby due to an 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 — November, same week — our lives took another traumatic turn. Two weeks after learning that her abdominal cerclage was failing, my wife called shortly after she had landed and arrived to our team hotel in Tampa, Florida, to inform me she was having painful contractions," he continued. "My grandma, who flew up to help take care of Morgan while I would go to work in 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," Goodwin recalled. "Anxiety overtook me as I again had to make a similar decision: Will 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 gym at the time that I absolutely had to fly back to take care of my wife to honor my wedding vows I made to her, myself and God."
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While Goodwin understands the NFL and other professional sports leagues are putting safety measures in place as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, "I won't take the chance of experiencing another loss because of my selfish decision-making," he told the camera as his daughter played with his earring. "I can't do it. It's not something I'm willing to live with; 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."
"I will not play the 2020-2021 NFL football season," he said. "I'm asking everyone to respect my decision, and it is my hope that you stay safe through these unprecedented times."
Earlier in his statement, Goodwin expressed his gratitude for being able to play professional football, saying, "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 multiple times a year and internationally to play on foreign soil has allowed me to gain an appreciation for different cultures and a wider worldview perspective."
"The NFL organization has allowed me to create a platform I always dreamed of, and allows me to reach numerous people in different stages of life," he added.
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