With the NFL gearing up for training camp, everything and everybody will be under a much bigger microscope due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Players and staff of the Los Angeles Rams, from the 52nd man on the roster all the way to head coach Sean McVay, will need to be equally careful in following the league’s guidelines to avoid a midseason outbreak.
The NFL must do everything in their power to avoid what’s currently happening with Major League Baseball, as a single outbreak within the Miami Marlins clubhouse has forced six teams to postpone games and quarantine for various lengths of time.
McVay spoke about the protocols now that he’s seeing them in person, saying that football should still happen this season, even if some changes must be made, according to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN:
“We’re still going to play football,” McVay said. “I think there’s a better understanding of how we apply those risk mitigation practices. I made the comment about social distancing — we’re not going to do that on the field, but in those meeting settings when you can do that and you’re wearing your masks, those are the times that we’re going to do that.”
McVay said that everyone within the organization must do their part to ensure the health of safety of their teammates despite some of the sacrifices that will need to happen because of it:
“There’s a level of responsibility that coaches, players and really everybody in our building will have outside of the ecosystem to make sure there’s a consideration,” McVay said. “It’s not just about what you’re doing here, it’s about understanding how important the ramifications can be if you make bad decisions outside of that with who you are exposed to.”
While it’s not as stringent as a bubble, the NFL must take considerable precautions in order to safely play football games. Mass testing, mask-wearing, and social distancing are a great start, but players and staff will need to be held accountable when they’re off the clock, not just when they’re with their teams.
The next month or so is critical for the NFL to get all of their protocols in order so that when the season begins, players and staff can be sure they’ll stay safe and healthy.
McVay unclear how social distancing can be enforced at all times
While he later developed a greater understanding of what social distancing means within the realm of football, McVay expressed the same confusion as many others when discussing staying six feet apart.
This simple question by McVay has such a complicated answer, and shows just how much work is in store for the NFL as they navigate a full-length season during a pandemic.