Saturday, November 28, 2020

Being on company time during your “free” time in the era of COVID-19.

July 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Health, News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( Since social media has become such an important part of American life in the last decade, it plays a role in how people present their views and perspectives on numerous things. Depending on what a person shares on their social media, it is a brief glimpse into their mindset, sense of humor, focus, and what they deem as important. The fact that so many Americans now have camera phones on them everywhere means that any moment with the public could become a social media moment. This is especially true for celebrities and those with any profile of fame because now any everyday person can be a member of the paparazzi and take a photograph or video of someone famous doing virtually anything. This has been the case for a while now and takes on greater emphasis for NBA and NFL players as they attempt to complete professional sports seasons during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 NBA season was interrupted by coronavirus earlier this year and there was no NBA championship team crowned. Now, several NBA teams are in a “bubble” at a Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Florida as the NBA tries to complete the 2019-20 NBA season under strange circumstances. Days ago, Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams became the first NBA player guaranteed to miss an official NBA game for quarantine after originally leaving the NBA “bubble” for “excused personal reasons”. Williams was later found to be at an Atlanta strip club after attending a viewing for the death of a close family friend. He had to admit being at the strip club after Jack Harlow, a rapper, posted a picture of him and Williams, who was wearing an NBA-issued facemask, at the club on social media. Due to his actions, Lou Williams has to spend 10 days in quarantine instead of the four he would have received had he just attended the wake.

lou williams strip club visit

For the upcoming 2020 NFL season, the National Football League has a bigger challenge of making sure that its athletes do not contract coronavirus and bring it back to their teams and potentially sideline multiple players on a sports team and derail a season. NFL teams are significantly larger than NBA teams and the NFL will not have a “bubble” or campus to limit the distances of their athletes, coaches, and employees during the season. After some unsettling moments, the NFL and the NFL Players Association came to an agreement regarding NFL’s safety protocols for the coronavirus. NFL players are giving up some notable things in their “free” time in order to try to limit the risk of coronavirus.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association wants to eliminate “high-risk” activities of NFL players off the field. Per the memo, the NFL defines “high-risk” conduct as attending: an indoor nightclub with more than 15 people, an indoor bar with more than 15 people, other than to pick up food, an indoor house party with more than 15 people, an indoor music concert/entertainment event with more than 15 people, a professional sporting event, other than applicable NFL games or events, with more than 15 people, and an indoor religious service attended by more than 25% of a venue’s capacity. Accordingly, NFL players could face discipline, including fines, for conduct detrimental to the team if they are found to have contracted COVID-19 through reckless activity away from their NFL facility.

It is definitely fascinating that the NFLPA made so many concessions restricting what NFL players can do in their spare time but they ultimately realize that COVID-19 has changed how many people operate and the greater “good” for the NFL is to complete the 2020 NFL season and collect on the tons and tons of money from TV contracts and other sources. Capitalism is speaking loudly regarding the return of professional sports leagues. Athletes and their actions are even more under the public eye than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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