Marquise Goodwin Opts Out of 2020 NFL Season amid COVID-19 Pandemic After Wife's Miscarriages
Before daughter Marae's birth this February, Marquise Goodwin and wife Morgan lost twin boys and, nearly a year earlier, a son, all at 19 weeks gestation
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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"We lost our twin boys," he said. "We have three angel babies to hold and watch as their little 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, y'all. Imagine that."
"After those losses, I was still expected to perform on the gridiron," Goodwin continued. "Soon I began to lose excitement for playing the game. 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. They were soothing me and getting me right while she was at home by herself."
"Some may not understand as they may have not had to deal with this issue. It made me vulnerable," he revealed. "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 while in the football facility as I once was. I was mad; I felt that I should be at home, helping my best friend get past the grief, [so] I could be the Marquise Goodwin — the guy I was on the field my first season in San Fran, except better."
"Onward to February , our lives were changed for the better as we finally were blessed to bring home our first living child, our rainbow baby," the proud father said with a smile, before having his wife bring over their adorable 5-month-old daughter Marae to greet viewers. "This right here? This is my reason, y'all. 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."
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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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