The novel coronavirus, which began the year shutting everything down across the country, has hit the Dallas Cowboys and their NFL neighbors from Houston. As we learned on Monday, “several” Cowboys and Texans have tested positive for the virus.
This news comes just a few weeks after the league announced NFL teams would hold training camps at their home facilities and began allowing organizations to work again in the office. This was meant to mitigate risk of exposure for players in the ramp up to the 2020 season. One positive is that none of the players are believed to have caught the disease at team facilities.
The initial report sent shock waves through social media. Not many cases inside the NFL have been reported since the outbreak, with the most notable public case being that of Denver Broncos defensive end Von Miller, who was diagnosed early on.
Initially, no player names were listed for the first report, which is consistent with laws of disclosure but, in the era of social media, that embargo didn’t last for long. Perhaps the identity of one of the players leaked because he happens to be one of the star players for one of the cornerstone franchises in the league.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s name was mentioned. Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, then confirmed that Elliott is one of the players who tested positive.
However, Elliott did not want this information released. He took to twitter to denounce whoever released the information and noted that his agent confirmed the rumors, but did not leak them.
The good news is that Elliott is doing well and hopefully that is the case with all of the other players who have tested positive. The bad news is, Elliott has tested positive for a highly contagious virus that can spread quickly, which is not great when your job requires you to be physically close to people. Worse, that Elliott’s personal medical records were made public fodder isn’t great, either.
Elliott is the first Cowboy acknowledged to have had COVID-19. He was also one of a handful of Cowboys who have been working out around others since the pandemic hit. Elliott has been with quarterback Dak Prescott and former teammate Dez Bryant as well.
In Bryant’s case, he tweeted out on Tuesday that he had tested negative for the virus following the exposure.
There was also an infamous dinner party Prescott threw in April, which was attended by Elliott. Prescott, like Bryant, is reported to be virus-free, however.
Currently, Elliott is the only player who has tested positive for the virus that has been called out by name, but it brings up an interesting question for the NFL. How are they going to deal with players who have tested positive as we approach training camp and the season?
And the bigger question remains, if the novel coronovirus continues to spread and hasn’t shown signs of decline, should the league even have a season? It’s something the other big three professional sports leagues are currently dealing with, and those questions will soon have to be answered by the NFL, as well.
Do you think the 2020 NFL season will be able to be played safely during a global pandemic? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.