"Shut down NFL training camps before they open," says Bill Plaschke of football's collision course with the coronavirus pandemic. "Forget the idea of unpaid college athletes playing abbreviated schedules on campuses deemed unsafe for regular students. Follow the lead of California high schools and temporarily dim all Friday night lights. Start the seasons in January. Play the championships in the spring. Learn from the mistakes that will be made by the restarting sports. Understand that you are playing a very different, far more dangerous game. You’re not the NBA, which has covered itself in a bubble. You’re not baseball, which competes with most players standing a baseline apart. You’re tackle football. You’re a contact sport. You’re the exact opposite of coronavirus safety. You don’t do social distancing. You do antisocial colliding. Football is the only sport where there is actually a play called a 'slobberknocker.' One of its most admired phrases contains the virus-ominous words, 'smash' and 'mouth.' Many players spend entire games at a social distance of about six inches." Plaschke adds: "Football generates billions for NFL owners. Football rakes in as much as 85% of the entire athletic budget for Power 5 conference teams, who average more than $60 million in football revenue per season. Football generates priceless identity and community for countless high school teams. But if football doesn’t drop the swagger and humbly respect a COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 140,000 people in this country and is surging through Southern California, our national pastime could become a national disgrace."
TOPICS: NFL, College Football, Coronavirus, Sports