Unlike the NBA and NHL, the NFL will not hold its 2020 season inside a contained bubble. That means, for nearly six months, thousands of players, coaches and team staffers must be trusted to take proper precautions outside of team facilities to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak.
Jason McCourty wants to believe that will happen. But he’s skeptical.
During Sunday night’s airing of “Double Coverage with the McCourty Twins,” the veteran New England Patriots cornerback said he’s witnessed concerning behavior from some NFL players as the start of training camps draws closer.
“I’m not going to lie, for me as a fellow player, I go on social media and it makes me very nervous to think there will be a season,” McCourty said. “Because I’ve gone on social media and seen guys posting a video in a nightclub, and it’s just like, ‘Yo, we’re attempting to play football. That’s not going to be OK.’
“You see guys working out in one city on a Monday, working out in another city on a Tuesday and another city the next week, and it’s just like, ‘Dang, if they’re working out here, here and here, that means you have to be traveling and you come across however many people.’ Or you see a guy posting pictures and there’s hundreds of (people), whether it’s anywhere.
“So for me, it is nerve-wracking. Those are the things that, for me, make it nervous to say, ‘Are we going to be able to have an entire season?’ Because small things like that go a long way. … Because it only takes one person testing positive, you come into the building, and that thing will spread like wildfire.”
NFL teams will have the ability to punish any players who contract COVID-19 after engaging in one of several “high-risk” activities. Indoor bars, nightclubs and house parties with more than 15 people present all fall under this umbrella, as do indoor concerts and all professional sporting events (“other than applicable NFL games or events”).
“The high-risk things on the agreement or whatever are extremely dumb to do at this time,” McCourty said. “… Those would be things that would be really, really stupid for guys to attend in their off time.”
Patriots rookies and quarterbacks are scheduled to report to Gillette Stadium on Monday for their first round of COVID-19 testing, with the rest of the roster reporting Tuesday. Players must test negative three times before being granted access to the team facility.
Major League Baseball, the only other major American sports league not utilizing a bubble format, postponed two games Monday after more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and coaches tested positive for the coronavirus.
South Florida has been a hotspot for COVID-19 in recent weeks. The Patriots are scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins in their season opener Sept. 13.