The NFL is taking coronovirus seriously. Are the teams? Why the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak was a wake-up call


The Tennessee Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak is not the end of the NFL’s 2020 season. This is the beginning of its most important part.

The events of this week are shocking only to those who have comfortably settled into the familiar rhythm of the football season and forgotten the potentially impossible circumstances under which it is being played. The NFL knew it was coming – a week in which the coronovirus infected one of its teams to the point where it had to consider postponing a game. It knows it will happen again. The NFL does not have charge in what order its games are played this season is the virus. So this league will adjust best, even if the solutions are not true or universally satisfactory.

But equity concerns are not as worrisome as existential ones, which is why this week should be a wake-up call – a reminder to those who have probably forgotten what is going on in the wider world to ever downgrade There is no way out of it – the Annular NFL. As training camp went smoothly and the first few weeks of the season, this is not the time to rest, and that time is not coming soon.

“Our job just isn’t done. It’s to be vigilant,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMoris Smith said in an interview to CNN on Thursday. “But I am happy with what has been done, I am happy with the protocols that have taken place, and we will know what exactly happened.”

More important than the rescheduling of the Week 4 game between the Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers is that the NFL and NFLPA remain at the top of the outbreak in Tennessee. The league released the teams on Thursday reminding, “There is a simple rule to remember: act as if everyone you come in contact with has a COVID infection and has the proper protocol.” The memo establishes new rules for teams, such as the Titans, who have an outbreak, or the Minnesota Vikings, who are exposed to outbreak teams. These include enhanced testing, mask and glove requirements during practice and virtual-only meetings among other things.

They continue to test the Titans players and personnel daily, isolating those who tested positive – five players and six personnel members tested positive this week – and to monitor and prevent further spread to their close contacts Turnt up. They continue to test Vikings players and personnel, who played the Titans on Sunday. No one has tested positive in Minnesota yet, and if it continues for another day or two leagues may begin to feel that it was not transmitted from team to team during a game.

But the NFL and the NFLPA have to find out how the virus got into the Titans’ building. They have to make sure that everyone in the league knows what they know. They have to take some kind of disciplinary action – if! – He learns that it was the result of someone’s negligence. And when they are at it, they want to do something about the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Raiders are under league investigation for letting an unauthorized person stay in their locker room after a game. Coach John Gruden was fined $ 100,000 and fined $ 250,000 for the inadequate use of Gruden for essentially league-mandated face covering for the team during a game. (Four other coaches and teams have also been fined for the same violation.) And then this week, videos of raider players taking part in an indoor charity event and posing and posing with masks while wearing masks surfaced. He Came.

Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr can give all the news conferences they wish they had “done a good job” and they were “not trying to be careless and careless”, but the action speaks louder than words. The actions of The Raiders are not that of a team taking this seriously, and the fact that they are flying under the radar is not a good thing for the NFL’s chances of playing a full season.

Carr, Jason Witten, Darren Waller and the other Raiders who were at that event were incredibly stupid. The coronovirus protocol negotiated between the NFL and the NFLPA and allowed the team (but not the league) to be fined. What makes them work is that those who allow the protocol to their teams, will they find COVID-19 a prohibited event (as a result of violating state and local regulations, and the country club hosted it Is) to be contracted by. State), to classify his illness as a non-football injury. If a player is on a non-football injury list, his team is not required to pay him.

Hopefully it does not come to that. Hopefully, the Raiders’ reckless stupidity does not make chickens roam the house. But until we have seen five-seven days of negative tests in Vegas, we have to count this week’s Buffalo Bills-Raiders game with the Vikings-Houston Texans in crisis. If a player of the Titans transmitted the virus to a Vikings player during last week’s game, or an unmatched guest at Waller’s charity event transmitted it to a mismatched raider, we can see three postponed games instead of just one .

“I don’t want to say what it is, but that’s why this plan is put to the people, to get ready and why so many people … are being diligent and not going out and careless Let’s be careful, “Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Wednesday. “I am home-schooling my children. We are not guests at home. You have to do those things if you want to play the game on Sunday.”

This is the point the NFL has been trying to get for the last few months to get home and its coaches to run home. This whole thing is a powder keg. I heard Carr stand there and say “we had a few moments where we slipped,” and all it tells me is that the boy either doesn’t get it or doesn’t care. One The moment you are enough to move, it is enough to let the virus in. Major League Baseball found it during the Miami Marlins outbreak in August that infected 18 players and threw several teams’ schedules into chaos for weeks.

There are people in our society who do not buy any of this – who think that the virus is a hoax or an overload. So it is for this reason that there are going to be people in the NFL who think the same way. There are certainly players and coaches and front-office people who roll their eyes at protocol and constant reminders that they have to follow them. And no matter how seriously anyone is taking the virus, everyone wishes they could snap their fingers and just return to normal. But the NFL’s position, built on a mountain of advice from the medical community, is not. The league has worked hard to ensure that its players, coaches and other personnel act in a manner that honors that position. Coaches who do not wear masks during games will be fined, and this week the league has told them that they can also suspend or end draft draft picks if the penalty does not work. If their attention does not go away, it is difficult to imagine what will happen.

So yes, the NFL and NFLPA will investigate what happened in Tennessee. If the result of that investigation is the discovery of holes in the testing and tracing protocol, they will work to patch it. This means that gameday tests in the morning, currently the only day of the week on which the NFL is not testing? This might be possible. Does this mean that the next time the coach’s test comes positive on Saturday morning, as did outside-the-season coach Shane Bowen of the Titans, that their close contacts cannot be found even on the plane? At least consider it. The situation is without precedent, meaning that the COVID protocol must be malleable.

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Adam Shackray reported that there were two more positive tests from the Titans, including one player, which led to the NFL postponing Tennessee’s game against Pittsburgh.

But as long as the protocols have been reliable and effective in identifying cases and limiting dissemination, there is no way to make them 100% effective. There will be more cases. There will be more outbreaks, facility closures, game postponements. it is inevitable. The behavior of people on the ground is the key to pulling off this NFL season. The ability of players, coaches and team personnel to make personal sacrifices to keep the virus afloat. And if players and coaches are starting to lower their guard, the NFL needs to make it loud, public and loud to make sure they take it back.

We won’t know if the NFL can finish this season. External challenges are and will remain important. They may prove impossible to overcome. But failure to seal the internal challenges will only make things more difficult. This week has been a reminder that they exist, and they should be kept to a minimum if this football season is to succeed.

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