Coronavirus has now impacted the NFL, with three teams reporting positive cases — the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans — causing two games to be postponed.
The Titans suffered the most with 24 positive tests and counting within the organization, which the NFL is now investigating to check if there were any violations of league protocols leading to the outbreak.
Their team headquarters closed on September 29th. The trouble came when a group of players reportedly did a workout on September 30th, which the NFL said to not hold those types of gatherings while their headquarters are shut down.
Potential punishments for the Titans if they are found guilty of the violations could include fines, suspensions and maybe even a forfeited game.
I believe a forfeited game is too much, however it depends on the violation of the rules.
Current Taylor sophomore Luke Foreman believes fines and suspensions are enough.
“I think there should definitely be fines, but I also think suspensions may be a good idea,” he said.
The Titans were supposed to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 4, but that game has been postponed due to the outbreak. They have not returned to practice either due to new positive tests continuing to come out.
Patriots starting quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, causing their game against the Chiefs to be postponed by a day. Their star cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, also tested positive this week.
The Chiefs had one positive test by one of their practice squad quarterbacks, Jordan Ta’amu.
There have also been struggles on enforcing the current mask mandates for coaches. According to the New York Post, two weeks ago, head coaches Vic Fangio, Pete Carroll and Kyle Shanahan were fined $100,000 for not wearing a mask on the sideline during the game. The NFL has threatened further punishment if this continues to happen.
However, it is not time to panic about losing the NFL season.
“I think that they’re handling it the best they can by postponing the games for those teams (with cases) until further notice because there’s not much else you can do without canceling the whole league,” Foreman said.
In the early part of the 60-game MLB season this year, two teams struggled much worse with COVID-19 than the current situation in the NFL. The Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals missed a combined 30 games this season due to outbreaks within the team.
After the outbreaks, there was uncertainty that the MLB season would be able to continue, but two months later, the MLB is now well into their postseason and on the verge of completing their season without further trouble.
College football has also struggled with COVID issues, most notably Notre Dame, who had 25 players test positive for COVID-19, according to the Chicago Tribune. This caused them to miss their game against Wake Forest.
This shows that sports can be played without a bubble atmosphere if the players and coaches are responsible. That is a huge responsibility though.
While avoiding COVID-19 is an important requirement for the NFL to continue, it is far from time to panic about the current situation.