Kirk Cousins could have some further explaining to do.
The Vikings quarterback, who taped a podcast appearance several weeks ago with Kyle Brandt, made controversial comments regarding Cousins’ attitude regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (And, yes, in this age it’s often controversial to call something “controversial,” even when it’s obviously controversial.)
At one point, Cousins was asked this question, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “On a spectrum of one — masks are stupid and you’re all a bunch of lemmings — and 10 is I’m not leaving my master bathroom for 10 years, where do you land?”
Said Cousins: “I’m not going to call anybody stupid for the trouble it could get me in, but I’m about a 0.0001.”
Cousins then was asked to elaborate.
“I want to respect other people’s concerns, but for me personally, if you’re talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern you could get it? I’d say I’m going to go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m going to ride it out. I’m going to let nature do its course. Survival of the fittest kind of approach and just say if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. Even if I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that. That’s really where I fall on it, so my opinion on wearing a mask is really about being respectful to other people. It really has nothing to do with my personal thoughts.”
Cousins has plenty of company when it comes to professional athletes and/or folks from the younger demographics, who believe that they are impervious to any negative outcome to the virus. But Cousins was clumsy in his choice of words. He shouldn’t have said, “If I die, I die.” The truth is, as he and others of his mindset see it, “I won’t die.”
The problem with Cousins’ comments is that, to the extent he has any influence (and he does), his comments will give those who believe that “masks are stupid and you’re all a bunch of lemmings” license to continue not using them, to continue claiming that they don’t work, and to continue in too many cases claiming the whole thing is a hoax. Even though Cousins added language making clear his position that wearing a mask is respectful to others, that part of it will be inconveniently overlooked by those who are looking for something/anything to justify their existing position regarding masks and the virus.
So the next time Cousins meets with reporters (hopefully today) and is asked about this issue (hopefully right out of the gates), he’ll say something like this: “Wear a mask. Take it seriously. It can kill your family members, it can kill your friends, it can kill anyone you come into contact with. And it can kill you.”