How Golf & Soccer are Providing the Template for the NFL’s Return

| June 22nd, 2020

The PGA Tour returned to action a week ago at Colonial.

European soccer seasons have restarted.

And yet Dr. Anthony Fauci sounded concerned about the possibility of the NFL arriving in September, as planned:

Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.

The NFLPA’s head medicine man was forced to respond. From a piece at PFT:

“Dr. Anthony Fauci’s words carry important weight as he has served our country with expert guidance and moral clarity through many crises,” Dr. Thom Mayer said in a statement. “As we have communicated to our players throughout the spring, we know that there are significant challenges to the operation of football during a global pandemic. So far, we have been guided and made decisions based on the best available science and current slate of infections and hospitalizations. Our joint task force is comprised of experts in multiple areas who are working everyday with health and safety in mind.

“In addition to stringent protocols and workplace safety, we continue to reinforce the importance of widely available testing. It is not just a key to restarting football, but also a matter of public health. While the information we currently have indicates it will not be an issue in the near future, we all agree that ethically, we cannot as a non-essential business, take resources away from our fellow Americans.

“We will continue to update you as we move forward through the summer.”

Let me state something out front. I not only live in New York City, the hardest Covid-hit location in the world, but I live in Woodside, Queens, just about a mile from Elmhurst Hospital, the building that saw some of the worst carnage of this virus. My friends and I have often joked (it’s called gallows humor) that we live in “Coronaville”. When antibody testing became readily available locally, everybody took the test. And I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that 75% of the men I know who took the test, tested positive for antibodies. Some of my friends got very sick. But thankfully nobody went to the hospital and had the death tube shoved down their throat.

I state this information to make it clear I understand the seriousness of this illness. And beating this illness is far more important than playing some football games. But that’s not the choice. The choice isn’t football or death. We can continue being vigilant against Covid-19 and have professional sporting contests. And that’s being proven by the two other sports that have returned to full-time action: golf and soccer.

So what can the NFL learn from these two sports? I’ll tell you.

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