Opinions will differ as to whether and how much the Covid-19 pandemic should be covered on this site. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because we make the decisions about what we think is relevant, and right now, the pandemic has the football season under threat, so until that changes, we are going to cover any meaningful developments that come up pertaining to the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers in particular.
A variety of people with diverse qualifications—or in some cases, lack thereof—have weighed in on whether or not they think the NFL will play this season, or whether or not it will even be possible. Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked to comment on when and how he thought sports might be able to return, and I thought his answer was worth sharing.
Fauci, who has been one of the leading governmental voices in the federal response to the pandemic, was asked if it were possible for sports to return this Summer. “There’s a way of doing that”, he allowed, offering a ray of hope to the millions of sports fans around the country who have been in something of a withdrawal.
“Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled”, he said. ”Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out”.
Essentially, leagues would have to be completely isolated from the rest of society for the duration of the season, unable to come into contact with anybody else without risking possible contamination without a controlled population that has been thoroughly vetted as being safe from the coronavirus.
It sounds like a good idea on paper, but one has to remember that we are dealing with human beings here. How many athletes will give up several months away from their families, while they could possibly be at risk in the outside world, in order to play a game? I think that’s a legitimate question that would have to be tackled when considering the possibility of pursuing such a strategy for returning to play.
The fact that we are even discussing this as a possibility still feels pretty surreal, and a reminder of the gravity of the situation that is taking place around the world. While they would be highly compensated for their troubles, it is still asking a lot of people to be apart from their families, even if it is, technically, for a job.
Not that plenty of people don’t do that on a regular basis, including anybody in the services who is in a role that leaves them subject to deployment. They manage it. It’s not easy, but they manage it. As long as it’s safe for them to return to play, in this sterile, monitored environment, it does sound like a plan that is feasible. But we still have a way to go before we even reach that point.