For weeks, Simms has been saying on PFT Live that NFL players won’t care about catching the coronavirus. On Thursday, an NFL player acknowledged that, indeed, he’s not concerned about it.
“I don’t know if this is the politically correct thing to say, but I’m not really worried about it personally,” Lions offensive lineman Taylor Decker told reporters on Thursday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I mean, it’s pretty simple to me, I’m not worried about it personally. ‘Cause I’m out here in Arizona by myself right now, so I don’t have elderly or kids around me.”
Decker added that he’s willing to take reasonable steps to reduce the spread of the virus “because that’s just the right thing to do,” but he made it clear that he’s not concerned about catching it while practicing or playing football.
On one hand, football players assume a far more immediate physical risk every time they step onto the field. On the other hand, players who have risk factors (like obesity or diabetes) may find out the hard way that they should have been worried about the virus.
Indeed, plenty of people with health conditions that make them susceptible to serious illness or worse from the virus don’t necessarily know that they have a condition that puts them at enhanced risk. Some have diabetes without knowing it; ending up dead from COVID-19 would be one hell of a way to get a diabetes diagnosis.
The point remains that professional football players will want to play football. And they’ll want to get paid to play football. So they’ll assume the risks because assuming risks is what they do. Because playing football is what they do.
And given that the supply of willing football players far outweighs the demands of 32 rosters, if any players choose not to play football this season, others will gladly replace them.