Instead of just dealing with the fact there will be no fans in 2020, the Patriots (and other teams) are considering a wild alternative.
There’s not a sports owner in America that can deal with the fact they’ll be losing revenue from ripping off fans to attend games in 2020 amid a global pandemic. Baseball owners have incessantly cried about lost revenue and tried to reneg their prorated pay deal with the players. Now football owners are insistent fans will be in attendance in 2020, and that includes the New England Patriots braintrust.
Stadiums won’t be filled by any means, but in some capacity various owners, most notably Dallas Cowboys boss Jerry Jones, say games will be played in front of fans. That’s seemingly given birth to a bizarre idea.
We’d like to formally introduce you to the idea of “pods,” and the New England Patriots are considering it at Gillette Stadium.
Yup, all those wonderful folks out there who have decided it’s a grand idea to “cluster together” while there’s still no vaccine for COVID-19 because it’s their God-given right could be cramming alongside one another in a stadium (while wearing masks) and be socially-distant from another pod/cluster.
This proposal has many flaws, with the most glaring being that these groups of people, if they’re deciding to indeed “cluster” together, likely haven’t been social distancing from others or quarantining with the others they’ve been “clustering” with. We need to stop saying “cluster.”
The biggest issue with COVID-19 is those who are asymptomatic and spreading the virus. Unless these people are getting tested, this won’t help contain the spread — it’ll just give NFL owners and excuse to squeeze in some kind of revenue. People still need to enter the stadium and use the bathroom, and we can expect them to be tailgating!
Just because people have decided to interact with another group of people doesn’t mean the virus goes away. These people aren’t in a bubble. They’re not getting tested regularly. They’re probably not abiding by the standard safety protocols.
But then again, there’s really no difference between this and permitting up to 20% of the stadium’s capacity to watch games every Sunday. Let’s enjoy this discourse as it continues to unfold.