With months to prepare for the NFL season, the rubber of policy is about to meet the road of reality when it comes to COVID-19. No league wants their players or personnel to get sick, but the it would appear that the model of operation the NFL has chosen is failing in real time.
For months, sports fans heard different plans about how sports were going to go about restarting. The NFL was in the enviable position of not having to deal with the COVID-19 landscape right away which should have given them plenty of opportunity to come up with a workable plan.
The NBA chose the bubble while MLB chose a personal responsibility model. One is working and the other is ringing up positive COVID cases like a pinball machine. One is navigating the Coronavirus threat, the other has over 20% of their league postponing games. It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback the response when the difference between results so starkly differ.
Unfortunately, the NFL’s approach to handling the pandemic follows MLB more than the NBA and it doesn’t bode well for the league. Without a bubble, players are free to go anywhere and see anyone they want and that, like with baseball, will spell disaster for football in 2020.
While some players will take it seriously, others will not. Unfortunately, those that chose not to manage the threat will infect those that do and the entire league will pay for it. Baseball teams and support staff aren’t nearly as large as NFL teams, so just take a moment to imagine the scale to which an outbreak could happen. Instead of a handful off a folks testing positive, like we saw with the Miami Marlins, it could easily be dozens in the blink of an eye... or worse.
Baseball is showing us that without a bubble, outbreaks are commonplace. The NFL has chosen a model of operation similar to MLB’s and that has to be nothing short of terrifying if you’re a player.
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