Say what you will about Alabama and Nick Saban (no really, say what you will in the comments) but Alabama’s football coach Nick Saban has the right idea about how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to the fall football season. It’s definitely not what the media or many officials in the left would agree with either.
According to ESPN, Saban and two of his star players have pushed back at the idea that players should stay home and not play football because the risk of contracting COVID-19 would be much greater. According to Saban, who’s obviously been reading up on how the virus works, his players are not only safer on the field, their lives would be much better off with football in the mix:
“I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban told ESPN. “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2% positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”
“We also test anybody that has symptoms and have an open testing site where they can go and get tested as many times as they want or anytime they feel like they need to,” Saban said. “But our guys aren’t going to catch [the virus] on the football field. They’re going to catch it on campus. The argument then should probably be, ‘We shouldn’t be having school.’ That’s the argument. Why is it, ‘We shouldn’t be playing football?’ Why has that become the argument?”
He’s absolutely correct. Most coronavirus transmissions happen within the home. Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted this back in May. You’re not safer at home at all. In fact, you’re more liable to catch it there. Saban is right. Your chances of catching it on the field are just as good as any other place, if not less.
Alex Leatherwood, Alabama’s All-American offensive tackle, said that the media isn’t covering the real story and that’s what the player’s want
“There’s a lot of noise and bad stuff out there about playing football with the virus going on, but I haven’t really seen anything about what the players want,” Leatherwood told ESPN. “We’ve been grinding all summer, and you don’t want it to be all for nothing.
“The story that needs to be written is that we want to play.”
“We take risks every single day, especially in this sport, and life shouldn’t stop,” he added. “If there is a chance for long-term effects if you get it and people don’t feel comfortable, then don’t play. Everybody is entitled to their right. But we want to play, and we’re going to play.”
Najee Harris told ESPN that Saban isn’t just speaking for himself, he consults his players about what they want first.
“He told us that none of this is about him, but it’s about us. He wants to hear our concerns, and we made it clear that we want to play and feel like Alabama is doing everything they can to make sure we can play safely,” said Harris.
“We want our voices to be heard,” Harris added. “Our main demand on the call was that we as players know the players we’re playing against have all gone through the same testing guidelines, but we want to play.”
Saban is apparently not the only coach who wants his players on the field. According to EPSN, he’s joined by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney who told reporters “This is the safest environment that we can have our guys. Without a doubt … as opposed to letting these guys all leave and go home and be in these environments where they’re not getting tested … every single week. They don’t have the type of sanitized environment that we have here, mitigated environment that we have here.”
Let’s all hope that Saban’s reasoning is adopted by the NCAA as a whole. Saban is not only looking at the science behind COVID transmissions but also doing the one thing that many leaders don’t do, and that’s leaving the choice of risk up to those who would take it.