When news broke Monday of the COVID-19 outbreak MLB’s Miami Marlins is currently dealing with, hysteria was apparent and many began to wonder if sports can continue on like normal. Even the Washington Nationals have asked Major League Baseball to not send them to Miami this weekend to play.
But not everyone is reacting the same. Some are being cautiously realistic, like Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians.
Via the Los Angeles Times, Arians admits that although the NFL has proper protocols in place, the environment outside of football can quickly alter their path forward.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to get sick at work, because we test every day and everybody is clean,” Arians said by phone Monday. “So it’s just, ‘What are you doing away from home, away from the office?’ The same thing goes for players. Most will take care of themselves, they’ll stay at home. But if they’ve got kids, and they go back to school, there are so many variables that come into play.”
So far, only one name has appeared on the league’s Reserve/COVID-19 list for Tampa Bay in third-rounder Ke’Shawn Vaughn. While more players will seemingly pop up on the list as the football schedule progresses, Tampa Bay can certainly count their blessings for the time being.
But Arians is right, many variables can quickly change all of that.
Some aren’t willing to play that wait-and-see game during the pandemic, though. Players are beginning to decide to opt-out of playing football this season. As of Tuesday morning, the New England Patriots have five alone, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Many more are expected to make the same announcements this week.
So while some are cautiously optimistic that the season can go on with certain protocols in place, others aren’t willing to take that chance. Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith hinted at sitting out 2020 but no official decision has been made.
We may never know if there are proper protocols in place. However, what is certain is that the 2020 NFL season will be much different than what we are use to seeing.