If you read the piece on all the protocols and procedures the Vikings have put in place for their training facility, you may be fairly confident that the chance of a player getting the Covid-19 virus while at TCO Performance Center would seem relatively low.
However, the chance of getting the virus goes up quite a bit should players decide to go out for a night on the town.
Well, the new NFL-NFLPA agreement addresses that issue in fairly straight-forward fashion. In particular, the following activities are banned:
- Attending indoor nightclubs
- Attending indoor bars (except to pickup food)
- Attending indoor house parties with more than 15 people
- Attending indoor concerts
- Attending professional sporting events
- Attending indoor church services that allow attendance of more than 25% of capacity
Players that violate the rules can be fined. Moreover, players that violate these rules and contract the virus will not be paid for the games they miss, and all future guarantees in their contract will be voided. I can’t imagine team coaches and players would be enamored with the player either- especially if it spread to others on the team.
How player activity will be monitored remains to be seen. Apparently the NBA has a tip hotline where anyone can report a player in a banned establishment. Monitoring devices could also be used, as could developing a network of people working at said establishments to report violations.
I suspect that teams in general will encourage players to stay home when not at the team facility, and I know teams have also had video conferences with players and family about the protocols and precautions as well.
Getting player’s immediate family members on-board with all these protocols and precautions is key as well, as Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth can attest to. Whitworth said a family member went out to lunch with a friend and contracted the virus. Soon Whitworth’s entire family, including himself, his wife, his kids, and his in-laws, all tested positive.
I suspect Whitworth’s story will/has been circulated around the league as an example of how quickly the virus can spread with even a seemingly harmless incident.
How successful all of these protocols and precautions will be in preventing a virus outbreak will really depend on the commitment of players, coaches, and their family members to observing the rules.
A lot is at stake, which undoubtedly will be communicated via many channels to NFL families on a regular basis, reminding them to follow the rules. Even one minor violation, or perhaps even none, and there could still be an outbreak that forces the cancellation of the season.
Roger Goodell has said now that training camp will start, and now that all the agreements are in place, the NFL is committed to playing a full season. But even the best laid plans can be pushed aside when facts on the ground dictate otherwise.
So far, a dozen rookies from nine teams that have been completed and reported their test results this past week have tested positive for Covid-19. Additionally, approximately 59 NFL players have tested positive for the virus at some point this year.
What’s the chance of the NFL playing a full season this year?
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