New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins doesn’t feel safe returning to the gridiron this fall.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, sports are slowly trying to get going again. The NFL didn’t have to put their season on hold due to their season ending in February, but normally OTAs begin in the spring and training camps start up at the end of July with the preseason games starting in August and the regular season kicking off the week after Labor Day.
While the NFL still has a normal schedule planned for the 2020 regular season, it’s not a crazy thought for anyone to think the season might not go on as planned.
"“We have over 2,000 players, even more coaches and staff. We can’t do that,” Jenkins said. “So we’ll end up being kind of on this trust system, the honor system, where we just have to hope that guys are social distancing and things like that. And that puts all of us at risk, not only us as players and who’s in the building, but when you go home to your families. You know, I have parents that I don’t want to get sick.“And I think until we get to the point where we have protocols in place, and until we get to a place as a country where we feel safe doing it, we have to understand that football is a nonessential business. And so we don’t need to do it. And so the risk has to be really eliminated before we — before I — would feel comfortable with going back.”"
Jenkins isn’t wrong with his comments about how it’ll be tough to make sure every player in the league is social distancing. NFL teams have bigger rosters and more coaches than the NBA and that in itself is going to make it difficult.
One of the biggest problems in most sports is that it’s nearly impossible to social distance during a game. Football is no exception to that rule, as in order to tackle someone, you have to obviously be close to that player. Every snap has players very close to each other and that’s how the virus is easily spread.
Jenkins also said in the interview that the virus would really need to be contained before he’d consider playing. That’s not looking to be the case right now, as some states have seen massive spikes in positive tests. People are already looking ahead to the second wave when the first wave hasn’t even finished yet.
Coronavirus has put the sports world on hold and while the NFL wasn’t immediately affected by it, the supposed second wave that could hit when the temperatures drop this fall, could most definitely make things complicated for the NFL. It’s already forced teams to hold training camps at their own facilities and there’s a good chance that fans aren’t allowed in stadiums for the duration of the 2020 season.
People might not like Jenkins’ comments about football being non-essential, but he’s absolutely right. We can all live without football (even if we’d rather not) and if it’s not safe for players to be out on the field in close quarters, then putting the season on hold might be best.