After the New England Patriots‘ Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, there was a thought that the team shouldn’t have its Sunday game against the Kansas City Chiefs rescheduled for the following day or even the next two weeks.
Instead, the NFL tested players and had them on the field competing on Monday. The Chiefs won 26-10, but when this is all said and done, so many people may have lost. If someone becomes gravely ill, many will hold the NFL accountable for what one journalist called an “unforgivable” decision.
The Patriots and Chiefs Shouldn’t Have Played on Monday
When a person has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, they may not show symptoms at all, and may not test positive for up to two weeks, but may have still contracted the virus.
Even still, the NFL chose to move forward with the Patriots vs. Chiefs on Monday, despite not only Newton, but Chiefs’ practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu also testing positive.
Boston.com’s Aidan Curran wrote:
Despite having firsthand evidence of how this virus can rip through a team so stealthily, the league decided to have the Patriots fly out to play Kansas City on Monday night, even though there was no way of knowing for certain if any other team personnel had contracted the virus by that point. The situation was bad enough that the Patriots had to take two team planes from two different airports. One plane was designated for players and coaches who had close contact with Newton and thus were at higher risk of infection. But the NFL had no problem with those higher-risk players getting off that plane and playing on Monday night, mask-less and potentially spreading the virus on the field.
Why would the NFL allow so many people to take such a risk?
The ‘Unforgivable’ Decision
NFL insider Albert Breer had an even more damning, and yet likely accurate perspective on the NFL’s reasons for not delaying the Patriots-Chiefs Monday night contest.
Appearing on NBC Sports’ MMQB, Breer said:
For a time, the plan was to move the Patriots-Chiefs game to Tuesday night. The problem though was the Chiefs next week play on Thursday night. So when this whole plan was being formulated, the Chiefs came back to the league and said ‘we’re OK playing on Tuesday, but then you can’t make us play the following Thursday. The league did not want to move that Thursday night game against Buffalo. So instead, they decided to play the game Monday night … That sort of inflexibility — I can’t say this for sure — but I have a feeling that might be about television to where [the NFL wasn’t] willing to move that. That’s the stuff that if you’re the Patriots, you look at that and say, ‘that’s unforgivable.’
The thought of the NFL literally placing hundreds–if not thousands of people in harm’s way–simply because it didn’t want to lose TV revenue, or anger partners with CBS is pretty terrible.
We can all only hope nothing dire comes of this seemingly poor decision.
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