This apparently will come as news to some in the NFL, but we are still in the midst of a pandemic.
COVID-19 is once again overwhelming hospitals and medical professionals, and even those who have been vaccinated – even some who have gotten their boosters – are proving to be susceptible to the new omicron variant.
So no, the NFL’s decision Friday to postpone three games is not because the league is trying to tilt the scales in favor of certain teams. The NFL Players Association didn’t rewrite the league’s COVID protocols to benefit a certain player or team. The outbreaks are the result of where we are as a society, not misbehavior by a couple of teams.
And tempting as it might be to throw up our hands and say, “Screw it!” to COVID tests and protocols after almost two, exhausting years of them, that would only make it all worse.
Like all other sports leagues – like all of us, period – the NFL is struggling to operate in as normal a manner as possible while COVID and its omicron variant are behaving like Gremlins that were given a bath.
Omicron is more contagious, and the initial courses of vaccines don’t provide as robust protection as they did against earlier COVID variants. While it seems as if omicron is not causing severe cases in those who’ve been vaccinated, we don’t know if those people are more or less likely to transmit this variant.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod was among those in the NFL on Friday complaining about the league postponing three games because of COVID outbreaks.
Which means the league can’t just keep doing what it’s been doing, and think that will be enough.
“From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, our focus has been to play our games in a safe and responsible way, consistent with the best available medical and public health advice,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo sent to all 32 teams Friday afternoon.
“A key element of our success to date has been our commitment to working with our…