As COVID once again surges throughout the country, the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to updated health and safety protocols on Thursday. The league announced every team “will implement preventative measures that have proven effective,” including masks regardless of vaccination status, no in-person meals, and no outside visitors for traveling teams.
The updated changes come as the league again feels the dramatic effect of the virus. Several teams are dealing with outbreaks, but the Cleveland Browns have been hit especially hard. With their head coach, running backs coach, and 16 players currently in protocols, the Browns gear up to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.
After Adam Schefter reported that quarterback Case Keenum was placed on the COVID-19 list Thursday, Baker Mayfield (who was already on the list) blasted the league protocols on Twitter.
Mayfield implied Saturday’s matchup has not been postponed so the NFL can make money while not prioritizing player safety. “Make up your damn mind on protocols. Showing up and making only 3 teams test?!? All so you can keep the game as scheduled to make money.” Mayfield said before continuing to poke holes in the league’s current protocols.
The Browns are currently living through a situation that many Vikings fans were worried about.
It was just a few short months ago that Kirk Cousins was at the center of the league’s COVID vaccine conversation. After a few missed practices, due to a close contact, Cousins put on one of the silliest press conferences in recent memory, suggesting he would surround himself with plexiglass or even take meetings outside in the Minnesota winter to avoid getting COVID this year.
As the Vikings deal with their own minor outbreak, it might be time to credit the organization and their star quarterback for how seriously they’ve maintained their protocols.
For a guy who was destroyed across the media landscape, Cousins has done exactly what he said he would do. His takes on science are…highly questionable, let’s say. He can’t even back up his take with a Rocky quote properly. But he hasn’t complained or proselytized. He’s just kept his head down and played football. While Aaron Rogers was shown to be dishonest, the Packers were proven to have broken protocols, and Baker Mayfield has turned to barking at the league via Twitter, Cousins has quietly adhered to the rules.
Yes, there have been important Vikings players who missed a game or two, but that has been the standard across the league. There has not been the doomsday scenario that so many predicted when Cousins sat in front of that podium months ago.
Whether we as a country can agree on the vaccine or not, at the very least Cousins and the Vikings organization deserve credit for how they’ve handled their business during this divisive time.