Saturday, November 28, 2020

Covid Strikes Crew, Game in Doubt

Ohio is struggling with the spread of Covid and it has now impacted the Columbus Crew. It is being reported that six players have tested positive for the virus in front of the game that is scheduled to be played tomorrow afternoon.

The Crew's opponent, Nashville SC, just came off a victory against Inter Miami who had four players out due to positive tests. With that precedent, it is possible that this game will go on as scheduled even with a third of the team out of action.

There have been no reports on who has tested positive. The team is only allowed to work in individual drills in practice this week, so any member of the press could easily report who isn't there, but being this is Columbus... it won't happen. Press covering MLS? That'll be the day (more on this below).

Caleb Porter has a press conference today at 1:30 PM to address the current situation. Knowing him, fans will get a heavy dose of "we go to war with the army we have and not the one we want" or some variation of that. There's zero chance he will pull up on the match. It'll have to be MLS's call.

...and MLS will only make that call if Columbus runs out of players because tomorrow's game is an ESPN game (the main channel) and it is in an 8:00 PM window. There's likely little chance MLS can postpone the match until a later date because ESPN already has it's scheduling complete for any timeslot in the next week. A date change would also require the next game to be rescheduled. It's a winding road that I don't think anyone wants to be on.


One glaring problem we are having in the United States is how we are getting information about the coronavirus. We are now nine months into this situation and it's still hazy as to the most common ways to spread the virus.

A few months ago I remember reading a lengthy report in the Washington post about several "spreader" events, but there hasn't been much since. There was a focus on one restaurant with a certain type of HVAC unit that seemed to be to blame, but there was no follow up on who else had that particular unit. Should all places be closed or just the places that are lazy about sanitation. Where are all these promised "contact tracer" jobs that the news told us about? Is it just certain bars? Car dealerships? Is it only spread through intimate types of interaction? Do we not talk about it because we are Americans and kissing, hugging, sex is best left out of the news but okay in everything else? What about sweat? Are gyms and training tables places that the virus likes to hang out on? Did we ever get clarity about the virus on fresh produce and meats? Is there a certain church denomination spreading things? How about a certain religion?

These are all simple questions that have gotten dozens of answers. I'm sure you are running through answers in your head as you read them. It might even make you mad that I'm even writing them out as the answers seem to be common sense (and you're right).

Pro sports and their athletes are effectively a "protected class" of Americans. We don't know the identities of players testing positive till the very end and we NEVER find out where they got the virus. Why? Basically, because of the same rules that apply normally. You can't lean on the team you cover or they will kick you out of the room forever. Can't get in the room and you don't have a job. It's that simple.

What I hope changes in the coming weeks, months is that there is some more openness about how and where these players are getting COVID. Governments don't have the resources to track down where everyone gets sick, but these sports teams and leagues sure as hell do. And they are! That information could go a long way in slowing the spread. 

If you are in the sports press. Or know someone in the press. Or are a fan on Twitter, reddit, or anywhere else. Ask where and how. Report where and how. It helps everyone.

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