At a time when some political leaders say the nation is rounding the turn on COVID-19, a football leader is making a similar boast that simply isn’t backed up by reality.
“As an organization, we are on the cutting edge of beating the virus,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden claimed on Monday (via Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com), a day after Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that Gruden’s team faces a significant fine and potential loss of a draft pick for its latest COVID-19 protocol breach. Gruden’s boast also comes a day after his team was blown out by the Buccaneers, thanks in part to an expectation that the Raiders proceed with the game as scheduled even though the entire starting offensive line wasn’t available for the three most important practice days prior to the game.
“We’re not the only team in the league, so you know, that’s had people catch the virus,” Gruden said. And he’s right. But the Raiders are the only team to have multiple and various issues, from Gruden blatantly refusing to wear a mask to an unauthorized person in the locker room to a group of players ridiculously attending an indoor event with too many people and not nearly enough masks to last week’s positive test for tackle Trent Brown and the ensuing temporary banishment of those who were in contact with him.
So, yes, the Raiders are among the worst teams when it comes to dealing with COVID-19, and they are even farther from being on the “cutting edge of beating the virus” than the nation is from turning the corner. But as we’ve learned over the past four years, things like cold, hard facts no longer prevent those in positions of power or influence from saying whatever they feel like saying, whenever they feel like saying it.