Coronavirus Sports

The NFL Season Continues Despite Multiple COVID Cases

By: Elliot Pototsky — Correspondent

Between August 1st and October 20th, there have been 47 players and 71 other personnel that tested positive for the Covid 19 virus. And these numbers don’t appear to be going away any time soon. 

SHS senior Aaron Fandel says that because there were only one or two cases of COVID when the Titan’s outbreak happened, he was not concerned. However, Fandel’s confidence in the NFL’s ability to limit the spread of the virus was quickly diminished, “As the cases continued to pile day by day my view deteriorated,”  he said. “The NFL’s plan was to just hope and pray no one got it,” he added.

Fandel says the Patriots are lucky that the only Patriots players to test positive for the virus were Quarterback Cam Newton and Cornerback Stephon Gilmore. “Every report made it seem that Cam was close with everybody on the team, even having handshakes with almost everyone on the offense.” 

“It seemed like no one contracted it from Cam so they played, only for Gilmore to get it days later,” he added.

Fandel also says that 99% of players are avoiding COVID perfectly, but all it takes is that 1% to put everyone else in danger. “They need to institute punishments to deter those who would otherwise not care.”

Fandel says that right now the number one goal of the NFL is to have games played no matter what. “The NFL’s plan is a bigger threat to player safety than the actions of the players themselves,” he said. “Most of the time it takes time for the virus to incubate and infect.”

Fandel says that a bubble will never work for the NFL because each team has hundreds of workers, including players, coaches, and staff, and cannot easily move to an isolated area. “The best way is to provide guidelines and test daily so if any cases come up they can be traced and prevented,” he said. “The decision comes down to where the stadiums are located, and how COVID has affected that area,” he added.  

Junior Jack Murphy says that he was not shocked about the Titan’s outbreak but rather concerned about the state of the NFL, saying “The league is going to suffer.” 

Murphy says he was upset that Newton tested positive for COVID “I was worried about facing the Chiefs without our QB.”

It will be much easier to get players to follow the NFL’s regulations due to how easily the virus is contracted, says Murphy, “Players saw what could happen to their team … Most players getting COVID are not getting it because of excessively risky behavior.” 

Murphy says the NFL is in a tough spot because of the incubation period of the virus. “They are doing the best they can,” he said. Murphy also says the NFL might consider local bubbles that have teams living by or inside practice facilities and have an ‘NBA like system’ for visits. “Letting a small percentage of fans into the stadiums is not a bad idea … It can be done safely and should be to the discretion of the local government.”

Senior Nasaiah Texiera says he was unhappy not being able to see his favorite team, The Pittsburgh Steelers, play the Titans due to COVID, but says the future of the league was on his mind immediately after the news saying, “I thought about the NFL season being shut down.” 

Texiera says he felt bad after hearing about Newton and Gilmore. “Those are two players I like, but more importantly, two human beings,” he said.

Texiera says players are being smart when trying to avoid COVID because they know what is on the line. “It’s not just a hobby for them, it’s their job,” he said. Texiera also says that players that get caught breaking covid guidelines and rules should be disciplined.“There are players that aren’t taking covid as seriously as they should.”

Texiera says the NFL is being cautious when approaching positive tests. “All the teams that have received positive tests are shutting down their facilities,” he said. Players are even playing games for weeks without practice due to quarantine protocols,” he added.

Texiera says a bubble would be a bit too difficult, with each NFL team having 53 men on their roster, not including the practice squad, the staff and everyone else in the organization. “They should just be as safe as possible with hygiene and sanitation,” he said. “Fans are okay as long as there is only a small amount,” he added.

It is crucial that everyone partaking in an NFL event is following COVID guidelines. Texiera and Murphy, who play for Sharon High School’s football team know how difficult it is to limit the amount of contact during football games and practices. However, they understand the necessary acts of wearing masks and social distancing — and so should the NFL. 

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