• phil cantor/@osgphil

No, I'm not ready to call off Sports again due to COVID-19 cases



So, I've said it once already that I was wrong about big-time sports and whether they should be playing in a pandemic.


Yup, like a super large amount of people, I really thought they shouldn't be playing or at least hold off until the virus subsides. I don't necessarily agree with that premise now.


And right now, I stick to that, despite a rash of positive cases in the NFL and multiple games getting postponed in College Football. I say it despite Alabama head coach Nick Saban being forced to not coach the 2020 season's first game of the century this season vs. Georgia.


I say it knowing the Tennessee Titans were incredibly stupid and forced themselves and the innocent Pittsburgh Steelers to miss their week 4 matchup (been rescheduled). I say it knowing seven games were PPD in week 7 of the college football season.


Yes, I know...the fact that cases are not dropping here in the U.S. that the outbreak is not under control isn't making this any easier. Nor is the lack of self control by certain groups of people.



Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for packed-to-the gills stadiums, I don't believe 20, 30, 40 thousand or more packed in bleachers is a good idea. It isn't.


I like the idea of playing because for the most part, teams are self-policing.


It's impossible given the current circumstances surrounding life right now for every single person to avoid possibly getting infected. But with good, consistent testing and isolation, we're seeing it work.


For every case on the New England Patriots, there are 29 other teams without infections. With multiple college teams having isolated cases and locking down, many, many more have nothing. They need to try and power through this.



When Nick Saban gets infected, though asymptomatic, you realize it can strike anyone at anytime. Amazingly, it seems a majority of the infected cases within sports programs are largely the same.


Which is why I say keep moving forward. BUT---don't let crowds in. It's one thing for a largely isolated team to keep things under control it is another thing entirely to let drunken fans try to behave correctly.


I know what the argument is, and it isn't wrong. I get it. The idea of infecting others is scary to a super large percentage of the population and it should be. The idea of passing COVID-19 on to someone you don't even know and them getting really sick or dying is a horrifying thought to me.


But I'm not an athlete and I don't live largely in isolation. I don't have access to near daily testing . Athletes and athletic programs do.


Listen, it wasn't always pretty but Major League Baseball made it through their 60-game season. Ok, they've made it 98% through their season, so far.


The NBA went full bubble to complete their season and did. It was difficult and there were a few weird things that happened including players leaving campus, but it worked.



Will there be more players and/or coaches testing positive? Yes. No, I can't sit here and say that someone might get really sick from the virus, as much as I'd like to. I'm not an infectious disease specialist. It appears at this point, it may not happen.


But the coaches and players appear to be ok with that risk. If they aren't nobody has said it yet. And that's enough for me right now.


Yes, it's a bit of a risk. But very few things in life operate without some sort of risk.


Does this mean I'm willing to disregard protocols and walk around without a mask? No. Does it mean I'm willing to go sit inside a restaurant? No. Nor does it mean I'm willing to go somewhere where there's a huge crowd of people.


I go to the grocery store on a semi-regular basis. I go to Home Depot and Target and the Beer store. And I work from home.


But like I said, I don't have access to the things Division I football programs or NFL teams do. And that's the difference.


Maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe I'm making an assumption based on a lack of information but like my initial thoughts stating the games should be delayed, things change. No, we don't know everything about this virus and its impact on people. And no, it certainly is NOT a HOAX as a certain political persuasion would like you to believe.


It's most definitely real and has had a huge impact on our daily lives and largely due to politics, it isn't going away any time soon.


But we do know more about it. We do know more than we did in March when the U.S. all to briefly shut down. There are ways to control and mitigate it and there are not-perfect but evolving ways to treat it.


There are climbing numbers across the country and I'm aware of this. Those numbers are not growing due to sports teams. Those numbers won't change if they play or if they don't. The people in states where the numbers are growing need to take the appropriate measures and by that I mean stay away from each other.


But it doesn't mean the largely isolated world of big-time sports needs to do the same.


And that's my thoughts on the matter, what are yours?

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