Ohio State coach Ryan Day, to his credit, has defended former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the case of a whispering campaign that turned into a bear trap for ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky. In doing so, however, Day offered unnecessary and unwarranted criticism to players who made the conscious decision not to play in 2020, due to the pandemic.
“The whole idea that you don’t have a good work ethic?” Day said he told Peter King about his Soccer morning in America column. “I mean, to me, that’s crazy. It ended with Clemson’s game [a loss in the 2019 playoffs] and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys retire, what does he do? Ask to have a season. He put together this petition that all the Big Ten athletes signed saying that they want to play, but want to play safely and that they do not agree to cancel the season. It was all directed by Justin Fields. Where were everyone else? Where were the guys who chose not to participate back then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves to play. “
Sorry, coach day. But it is possible not only to love the game, but also to worry about contracting a virus and potentially passing it on to family members who may suffer a very bad outcome. While he has every right to defend Fields by touting the quarterback’s effort to salvage what would have been a lost season (and which, under Day’s contract, may have cost Day all or most of his salary) , Day is wrong to suggest that opting out is equivalent to not loving soccer.
“I think some people are being a bit reckless with their comments,” Day told King of Fields’ anonymous criticism, which was relayed to Orlovsky and later publicized by him. Ironically, Day was more than “a little reckless” with her own comments.
For the same reason that those who tear up Fields deserve to be criticized, Day deserves to be criticized for propelling Fields by trashing those who made the decision that there was no point risking contracting and / or spreading the virus playing college football in 2020. especially since they don’t get paid to play college football.
It’s another reason college football has long faced a reckoning. Until that reckoning hits, everyone involved in the money machine will be able to make decisions based on their personal and business best interests, except the players. When players make a personal or business decision that leads them to choose not to play soccer (either for one game or for an entire season), they will be labeled non-game lovers.
There is as much nonsense in that statement as there is in anything anyone has said about Fields, and Day should face strong and widespread criticism for painting the players who chose not to participate in the negative way that he did.