Colts announce several positive COVID-19 tests

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 10/16/20

The NFL has been hit pretty hard by the coronavirus over the last two weeks, and the Indianapolis Colts now are feeling the effects of the virus that has swept the league. 

Indianapolis announced Friday that several members of their organization tested positive for COVID-19. They did not reveal a specific number. 

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

SEC threatens fines, suspensions for COVID-19 violations

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 10/8/20

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has sent a memo to league athletic directors and coaches threatening fines and suspensions if they and/or their programs fail to comply with health and safety protocols for completing the college football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The imposition of any reduction in Conference revenue for failure to substantially comply with or repeated disregard of the SEC masking requirement will be determined at the Commissioner’s discretion,” the memo reads, per Alex Scarborough of ESPN. 

“In addition, individuals who fail to comply with or disregard the masking requirement could be subject to penalties, including but not limited to, suspension for a specified period.”

Scarborough also reported staff or other personnel who fail to comply with guidelines could receive a $100,000 reduction in conference revenue, with fines increasing by $100,000 for each violation. 

The memo comes in the wake of multiple SEC coaches failing to properly wear masks or other face coverings on sidelines during games, and as the Tennessee Titans of the NFL continue to battle a coronavirus outbreak that reportedly has some clubs wanting the Titans to forfeit at least this Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills because some Tennessee players broke protocols by hosting a workout after team personnel tested positive for the virus. 

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

U.S. Open director admits tennis tournament could be canceled

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 8/20/20

Even though tennis players and other personnel are isolating in a “bubble” ahead of and during the U.S. Open, tournament director Stacey Allaster admitted to ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine that the coronavirus pandemic could eliminate the anticipated event from the calendar:

“If at any time we don’t feel that level of confidence that we have today, then we’ll make a very easy call, and we’ll work with the local public health authorities along this journey.

“We feel it’s worth a try and in the best interest of tennis and the industry overall to do so, but the health, well-being and safety of every person involved in the U.S. Open will always be at the forefront of our decision.”

The U.S. Open is the first Grand Slam to occur amid the pandemic. The Wimbledon Championships canceled on April 1, while the French Open was pushed back to a Sept. 27 start date. 

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

College football in the time of COVID-19

Originally posted on RealGM | By Jeff Risdon | Last updated 8/18/20

Training camps are now fired up around the NFL. We’re back to having actual football, offense vs. defense. While it’s not the typical setup and there won’t be any actual game action until Sept. 10th, it’s great to see some football back in our lives.

It won’t be that way for most college football fans, or high school football players and their families in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped those seasons before they even started in many places, including the Big Ten and PAC-12, as well as all lower-level conferences around the country.  

Despite the college cancellation, I remain confident the NFL will indeed kick off on time and play a full slate of games in Week 1. The teams have embraced personal responsibility and protective measures against possible infection, and it’s working. No player has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list for a positive test or exposure to an infected person in over two weeks. That’s after a rash of players was added at the start of organized summer activities and nearly 70 NFL players opted out due to the risks involved with playing in a global pandemic. 

The players and coaches have done what they needed to do. It’s been awkward for them. Some have sequestered themselves away from family members. They’re wearing masks wherever they go, no matter how much they dislike it. Their reward is the ability to operate as normally as possible and actually progress with their careers and their lives. America gave them carrots and they harvested them successfully (so far). 

Sadly that is not true at the lower levels. Many college programs can trumpet the same successful plans. Players bought in and did everything they were told to do in order to try and have a season. They avoided parties, they stayed away from mingling with other students, they made sure to take precautions to avoid any chance of getting infected. Not all did, of course, but the overwhelming majority embraced the challenge and rose to it.  

Yanking the carpet out from these young men after they did precisely what was demanded of them is a crushing blow. It’s devastating to the mental health and psyche of thousands of ambitious young men. When they were asked to jump, they responded “how high,” but the powers that be decided that jumping wasn’t ever going to be high enough. 

Put yourself in those shoes. Imagine living almost solely on hope, however unrealistic it might have been, and then have that hope completely extinguished despite doing every single thing you were tasked with to attain that hope. Now factor in that there are no outlets for these disaffected, disappointed young men. They can’t go to a movie, a concert, a bar, a library. In many places, they can’t eat at a restaurant when it’s raining because indoor gathering is still prohibited. Group dates are strictly taboo. Here in Michigan, they still can’t go to a gym to lift a weight or run on a treadmill. 

That’s why players like Ohio State QB Justin Fields and others have lashed out, demanding the chance to play. Who can blame them? There is quite literally nothing else for them to do. They look around in the pandemic and they don’t see any of their peers dying or even getting sick beyond what might be a bad cold. They’re not visiting with middle-aged aunts, they’re not going to jobs where they might come into contact with an immunocompromised person, they’re not picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy around possibly sick people. Their prism on the pandemic is different because of that, but that difference in life stage and perspective doesn’t matter. People are indeed dying and suffering major, life-altering conditions from COVID-19 infection, but the typical college football player is mostly far removed from being involved in those groups. 

Do the college players need to be protected from themselves in the pandemic? Absolutely. But guess what — they were being protected. They did exactly what the NFL players did, rising to the challenge of doing everything right. Now they see the NFL veering into full action but their own aspirations shattered. What kind of message is that to send to young men who have been leaders and are at a critical point in their life-shaping mentalities?

The colleges and the sports machines that drive them are definitely deserving of blame. Many have known for months that trying to operate during the pandemic was a pipe dream, a logistical impossibility. But they continued to sell the hope that maybe if everyone did exactly as told, maybe we might get a chance to play an altered season. Maybe. That’s shameful conduct by the colleges, the sports networks, and most specifically, the NCAA for not doing anything. 

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

New COVID-19 test funded by NBA, NBPA gets FDA approval

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 8/15/20

The NBA and NBPA funded the development of a saliva-based COVID-19 test by Yale University, and now there’s been a breakthrough in its development. 

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for public use of the test known as SalivaDirect. 

SalivaDirect is designed for widespread public coronavirus screening, and Lowe explains that it’ll likely cost consumers between $15-$20. 

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

Majority of Dallas Cowboys creating training-camp ‘bubble’?

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 8/11/20

Many within the Dallas Cowboys are creating their own isolated bubble experience to protect themselves from COVID-19 before on-field training camp practices begin on Friday.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer, a majority of Dallas players, coaches, and other personnel will set up shop at the Omni Hotel that is located next to the franchise’s practice facility.

ESPN’s Ed Werder reported rookies and free agents are already at the hotel.

Staying at the Omni is optional for everyone associated with the Cowboys, but joining the makeshift bubble is “strongly suggested,” per ESPN. The Cowboys believe the bulk of players on the roster will make the hotel their summer home.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

NFL officials reportedly remain confident full season can be played

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 8/9/20

There have been some doubts recently over the college football season being played, but the NFL reportedly remains as confident as ever behind closed doors.

NFL officials have privately been expressing a “high degree of confidence” that there will be a full 2020 season, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It’s possible that some teams will be required to follow bubble protocols in their cities with extended hotel stays and other unique guidelines, but there is still optimism for an uninterrupted season after no players were added to the COVID-IR list on Saturday.

Teams have yet to begin practicing in pads, so there are some hurdles to clear. The NFL understands that there will likely be issues that pop up like players not being able to practice and/or having to miss games, but there is not a sense it will be enough to shut the season down or force the cancellation of games.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

NFL changes COVID-19 testing protocol following Matthew Stafford drama

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 8/7/20

It’s going to be a process to make sure that the COVID-19 testing protocols around the NFL are up to snuff with the 2020 regular season slated to start in about a month.

One of the biggest recent issues was the false-positive Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford received last weekend. Detroit placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list despite the fact that he was not showing any symptoms and had not come into contact with someone who contracted the virus. Stafford’s wife, Kelly, blasted the NFL over this and what seem to be questionable protocols. Something has now been done about this.

NFL changes COVID-19 testing protocol 

The league announced on Friday that if a player has no known confirmed infection, is asymptomatic but tests positive, he would only be given two more tests to to confirm. If these are negative, said player would not be considered infected.

Putting aside the technical terms, this changes the landscape as it relates to COVID-19 testing around the NFL. It also takes into account false-positives, which have increasingly become an issue around the United States. Previously, an “infected” player would have to test negative three consecutive times over a multi-day period.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

Commissioner Gary Bettman not contemplating canceling NHL season

Well hockey fans, it looks like there’s no sign of the NHL canceling its season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman appeared as a guest in a virtual town hall hosted by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday and noted canceling the season is “not something I’m even contemplating.”

“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said, according to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. “I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”

The NHL has only canceled its season twice… in 1919 because of the Spanish flu and in 2005 because of the lockout.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 5/13/20

Report: NFL coaches ‘really nervous’ about NFL’s plan for return due to COVID-19

The NFL is moving full steam ahead with its plan for the 2020 NFL season after releasing the full regular-season schedule. While everyone around the league anticipates football being played in 2020, some are quite concerned about the league’s plan.

The upcoming season is expected to start on schedule with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans to kick off Week 1 on Sept. 10. While few around the NFL expect delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are worried about what happens once the season starts.

According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, several coaches around the NFL are “really nervous” about their own safety and the health of the players once the season is rolling. The coronavirus can spread quickly among all demographics, putting everyone at an NFL facility in danger.

While most players are willing to play, those with risk factors or family members with risk factors could be in danger of suffering the serve side effects of the coronavirus. The concern is even more prevalent among coaches, with many in the age group that are at far greater risk of dying from COVID-19.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Johnson | Last updated 5/13/20