The Coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. From wearing masks in public to social distancing, temperature checks, and giving folks the side-eye whenever they even cough.
One of the biggest things that COVID19 affected in America was the loss of sports. In March, the NBA season postponed its season; spring high school and college sports were also shutdown. And with the rapid growth of cases over the following months, there was uncertainty everywhere. As more knowledge about the Coronavirus became known, leagues like the NBA and the NHL built facilities that or “bubbles” that created probably the safest environments in the United States. With daily testing and quarantining of players, and strict policies, everything was safe and secure. On the other hand, the NFL couldn’t do the same thing as other leagues. Unlike the NBA and NHL, they weren’t able to control and create a bubble environment, making the risk of team staff members and players contracting the Coronavirus.
The NFL decided to skip there preseason with a limited contact training camp as well. Teams have been testing daily to prevent the virus from entering their facilities, but people have to go home at the end of the day. And that came back to bite the NFL.
As I mentioned earlier, teams had to skip the preseason and go non-contact in their training camps. Anybody that’s ever played contact sports like basketball or football knows that you need some time to get your body used to the grind. As we saw in the first two weeks of the season, big-time players went out with big-time injuries. Most of them being ligament injuries in knees and ankles. It’s hard to go 100% and maintain that when your body isn’t ready for it. It’s like starting your car and pulling off in the middle of winter, got to give athletes time to warm up.
Last week, the Tennessee Titans had an outbreak of Coronavirus cases on their team. It was only a handful then, but today, the number is up to 18. The report is that a coach violated protocols, contracted the virus, and brung it back to the team.
Even though the NFL will always be the most popular league when it comes to fans and ratings, but the best sports league in America is basketball. In the last ten years, basketball players have been ones leading the charge. Their league listens to the players; it’s more progressive. Of course, guys like Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have been on the frontlines with the social justice movement since day one, but guys like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, and others have been front and center as well. They were talking about things openly and often. And again, I am not trying to discredit the NFL. But for the most part, many teams haven’t had unity from top to bottom, from the owner down to the intern strength coach.
COVID-19 is a problem that the NFL shouldn’t have had to deal with to this extent. I feel as if teams were a lot looser than they should’ve been and let up. You see, coaches like Ron Rivera getting a warning from the NFL for not wearing his mask on the sideline. Things like that shouldn’t happen. A team counting 19 cases shouldn’t happen. We all understand injuries are apart of the game, but several non-contact ACL tears shouldn’t happen. The NFL rushed to get the season going for the money and failed to put in the extra work to assure player safety, on and off the field.
by: Cam Deloatch