Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones is not happy about what’s going on in New England, and rightfully so.
It’s clear we have enough evidence through nearly six weeks that the NFL did not properly prepare for the threat of COVID-19, as more and more facilities across the league continue to be shut down due to positive tests.
The New England Patriots have been among the teams hit the hardest after Cam Newton’s diagnosis about two weeks ago, and the issues have since persisted. Stephon Gilmore tested positive. Defensive tackle Bill Murray followed. Then came offensive lineman James Ferentz, which shut down shop on Friday.
Now, the team is already planning to open Gillette Stadium on Saturday after that turnaround. But before that news was made known, cornerback Jonathan Jones seemingly expressed his displeasure with the league on Twitter.
Yup, the NFL should have listened to the players, specifically the McCourty twins, more carefully. Instead, it’s clear Roger Goodell and Co. are prioritizing money over safety, because games are being rushed to be played with little regard for the circumstances, and it’s very much creating a snowball effect of more positives.
The Patriots and Chiefs should have never played their Week 4 game, which is something the average fan agreed with. That forced the NFL to move last week’s Patriots-Broncos clash to this Sunday, further inconveniencing other teams with the schedule shift. And time is running out. The schedule can’t keep changing. We’re going to need extra weeks if this keeps happening.
But the worst part? The players must feel helpless. Sure, in most cases COVID-19 won’t be detrimental to the health of athletes of this caliber, but that’s not the point. There’s still a chance it is (just see what players in other sports had to say about it), and taking the field with that uncertainty week in and week out is scary, without a doubt.
The NFL didn’t adjust the 2020 schedule to limit traveling. It clearly didn’t have a Plan B in the event something managed to interrupt the flow of the season. And now players are entering practice facilities, boarding planes, and entertaining the country with a greater risk than we could have ever imagined.
Jones is right, and it’s time the NFL huddles up to make some serious changes after Week 6.