the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Ral Reyes ’21 and Kieran Haug ’21
Image Credits: CGTN.com (top), Patriots QB Cam Newton; titansized.com (bottom), Corey Davis, Titans WR (one of the 13 players who tested positive)
The NFL has created a reserve list for athletes who have contracted the novel coronavirus. This list is called “Reserve/COVID-19.” Athletes who test positive, and those in close contact with positive cases, are put on this list. Athletes on this list are required to follow the return policy, which consists of a second negative test within 24 hours of the initial negative test, increased symptom monitoring, eight days of daily virus testing and a testing schedule following the initial eight days. With regards to team outbreaks of COVID-19, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated: “Going forward, if outbreaks on teams require that a game be postponed, the league will continue to move games to Monday or Tuesday, or later in the season by juggling by weeks.” Goodell is also implementing fines on teams that fail to adhere to their health protocols, such as wearing masks properly, physical distancing and limited access to locker rooms and other places of congregation.
An example of a team outbreak would be with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans had 24 people within its organization — including 13 players — who tested positive for COVID-19. The team was fined $350,000 after infectious disease experts sent by the NFL deemed that the Titans failed to wear masks at all times and were unclear with players about the NFL’s health protocols. As a result, the NFL had to postpone the Oct. 4 game against the Steelers to Oct. 25 and move the Oct. 11 game against the Buffalo Bills to Oct. 13 in order to accommodate NFL COVID-19 protocols.
Another team that had to respond to COVID-19 is the New England Patriots. After player James Ferentz tested positive, the team’s week five game against the Denver Broncos was rescheduled for week six and its practice was canceled. Ferentz started every snap at the center for the Oct. 5 game versus the Kansas City Chiefs, which led to increased concern from the Patriots that other players may also have COVID-19. This happened just a day after Stephon Gilmore and Cam Newton had come back to practices from the Reserve/COVID-19. After practices were shut down Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, they were finally allowed back Thursday, but, as mentioned before, they were canceled again Friday. The Patriots were still able to play the Broncos week six and lost 12-18. The lack of practice time likely attributed to this loss in some capacity, but most attribute the Patriots’ struggles to Tom Brady leaving the team. COVID-19 has proven to be a struggle for the country, but fans are excited that football is back.