The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Attempting to play professional sports and the mechanisms required to do so present a societal ethical dilemma with regard to public access to adequate Covid-19 tests and results.
Explanation: This is an important question that the NFL and all sports teams have to consider, and at least they have claimed that they are. The concern here is the idea that the extensive amount of Covid-19 tests needed for major sports to be safely played could potentially limit access to those tests for the public, who need it more. If there is a shortage of tests, who do you justify the NFL having enough to test players at least every other day? Is an unnecessary entertainment industry that important?
This is a major concern and needs to be taken seriously. A dozen or more teams are set to break for camp in the near future in states that are seeing significant and rising cases of the coronavirus. These places will be in dire need of all of the tests that they can get their hands on. NFL teams in their region will be using hundreds and hundreds of tests on a weekly basis, perhaps even thousands.
Unless the league can help facilitate community testing and help ensure that there are enough tests to go around, it can’t be ethically justified to have these teams go about their business in these affected areas. if they cannot ensure this, then they must relocate their team to an area that does not have as extreme testing needs.
The NFL has assured for months that they will have a ‘robust’ testing protocol in place by the time the season rolls on, and they haven’t deviated from that position since, indicating that they feel they are on track to being comfortable with their position on this matter.
Ultimately, what the league does and what the communities around them do are distinct. One should not affect the other. Their tests will probably be sourced from another location that doesn’t interfere with the tests coming into the surrounding area.
Moreover, if worse comes to the worst, the NFL can always take measures to scale back here and there to limit the number of tests that they need to use, which they can then supply to the community. If anything, the NFL’s presence will likely produce a net increase of available tests.