Trying to live a normal life in a pandemic isn’t easy. In fact, depending upon what ‘normal’ consists of, it might be impossible to do, or at least extremely unsafe. In a short time, the nation’s major sports leagues are going to try to approach something resembling normality. They are still groping in the dark to figure out just what they will entail.
The NFL is among them. They are the only major American sports league who hasn’t had games interrupted yet, since even the preseason isn’t scheduled to commence until August. They have been fortunate in this regard, but the time is rapidly approaching at this point. Training camps have a start date now, which for most teams is July 28.
In the interim, the league has issued several memos with guidelines about workplace safety and things of that nature. Anything pertaining to player safety related to the virus has only been speculative, because players have not been allowed at team facilities for several months, but what has been put out there has been concerning for some.
Take Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who has had his issues with what he has been hearing from the league about what the facilities may look like due to the coronavirus when things get underway. He talked about this on The Fan recently.
Nobody knows and the experts don’t know. I’ve seen all the memos on that. And to be quite honest with you, it’s impossible, what they’re asking us to do. Humanly impossible. We’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space. We’re going to have masks, but you know, this is a communication sport. So we want to get out there and actually have any idea about what we’re doing on the field. We’ve gotta be able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice. And I’m pretty sure the huddle is not going to be six feet space. So, you know, I don’t know, are guys going to shower one at a time all day, are guys going to lift weights one at a time all day?
These are the things the league and the PA needs to get a handle on. It needs to get agreed with some common sense, so we can operate a 13 hour day in training camps that are given us to get our work done. I’m a little frustrated with what I’m hearing there. I think they need to get that pinned down a little better. Now, maybe we’ll know more in two months and they’ll be able to be a little more realistic and practical in what they’re asking, I would expect that to be the case. I think good people, smart people involved in this, but the way I’m reading these memos right now, you throw your hands up and you go, well, you know what the heck, there’s no way we can be right.
What is ‘realistic and practical’ will be decided by the virus and what health experts determine is necessary for a basic level of safety, not what is most convenient for football teams. It is possible that things will be very inconvenient. Maybe some things will be impossible. Maybe the season itself will be impossible. We don’t know yet.
But we should know a lot more a month from now.