Patrick Chung is right when it comes to COVID-19 and football
New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung wants everyone to keep a proper perspective when it comes to coronavirus and sports — and he’s right.
On the same day that the United States eclipsed over 500,000 cases of COVID-19 or coronavirus, New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung had an article published on The Players’ Tribune in which he described at length how he and his family are coping with the virus and social distancing.
It’s a new series called “The Iso” that apparently will chronicle how many popular athletes from various sports are “spending their time away from their sport.” Chung was selected to be the first professional athlete interviewed for the series.
Granted, he and other NFL players haven’t been as directed impact by the pandemic as athletes from America’s other professional sports leagues — not in the same way, at least. While coronavirus and its wide-ranging effects have made a mark on the lives of every single citizen on the planet at this point, the NFL has been the least-affected major North American league in terms of scheduling.
The NBA, the NHL, MLB, and MLS have all either suspended or delayed the start of their seasons. All four of those leagues will be forced into making significant adjustments and concessions if they hope to have any kind of season (or remaining season) at all this calendar year.
As of now, the NFL is more fortunate because the actual start of the season won’t happen till the fall, when perhaps the brunt of this international crisis will have passed (hopefully).
The NFL is still making preliminary and preventative modifications and decisions, though, such as turning this month’s draft into an entirely virtual affair and preparing contingency plans if OTAs, minicamps, training camp, and the preseason all end up getting affected by COVID-19.
Chung, for his part, stressed that “football can wait” during his interview with The Iso:
"There’s a lot more things in the world to be worried about, to be honest. We gotta be safe. Football is a job, it’s a sport. It’s done a lot for me. But at the same time, we got this thing going on, we have to make sure that everyone is safe. Football will be there when we get back, but we gotta make sure that everyone will be there to watch."
He’s absolutely right, too.
As much as football fans — and sports fans in general — would love nothing more than a televised distraction right now while we’re all stuck at home in quarantine and/or practicing safe social distancing, it’s imperative that we don’t rush athletes, coaches, staffers, and other members of our sports leagues into compromising positions.
There could very well be solutions ahead as talks continue about minimizing the sites of sporting events, conducting rapid-fire testing of all participants, and holding the games themselves in arenas and fields that are empty (devoid of fans).
But in the meantime, we should all take a page out of Chung’s book and keep this thing in proper perspective. Until and unless we get this virus and its effects under some semblance of control, the NFL — and sports in general — should be of little consequence in the grand scheme of things while lives and jobs are being lost.