Not that any of the bureaucrats will heed his advice, but Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence stood above the dazed and misdirected leadership of NCAA sports this weekend when he outlined why it’s safer to be on the football field…than in a conference room with them.
Credit Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence for claiming the ‘Common Sense’ Heisman Trophy over the weekend.
In a series of tweets the leading candidate for the actual Heisman at season’s end (should there be a season) came out to say, “Let’s work together to create a way we can play the game that we all love. Not divide and conquer. There is a way forward.”
This now, as the Power 5 conferences huddled to decide if they should follow the lead of the Mid-American Conference last week, that canceled its fall football season. Rumors circulated all day Sunday that the Big Ten would be next to follow as the presidents of those schools met to determine their own fate.
In another of his tweets Lawrence was more direct: “People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”
And paraphrasing an extension of that quote, Lawrence went on to say, “And some of the players come from some places that aren’t very safe in the first place. They’re better off here playing football.”
Lawrence, at face value, is right – his words literally an embarrassment to the question of what’s logical in those Sunday conference meetings around the country.
If you want to quote science, there’s more than enough to go around. Football athletes are more conditioned than the folks back home, healthier to begin with, and the adolescent mortality rate with Covid is almost non-existent. Those who are testing positive aren’t getting sick – they’re asymptomatic. Give them a few days and they’re over it like it was the common cold, with anti-bodies to protect them going forward. It’s age-old science.
If you want to lean on logic…social distancing “IS” easier to enforce in a football environment away from the field. And medical care is more acute and comprehensive with the omni-presence of trained personnel on site.
If the fear is that of liability on the part of the schools…sign a waiver. Pure and simple. Put your name on a form that says…I acknowledge the risk, and absolve XYZ University of all responsibilities inherent to the Covid 19 virus.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Field further supported Lawrence on Sunday, tweeting: “”There’s been too much work put in! #WeWantToPlay”.
Fields’ Ohio State teammate, linebacker Tuf Borland offered his support, tweeting: “”It has been said that college athletes are being ‘exploited’ not only in the stated letter but also in the media. We recognize that there are risks. But we have all chosen to be here and want the chance to play this fall. We know that there is still a long way to go as plans continue to change everyday. But we have a consistent voice in the discussion.”
The question remains…will the bureaucrats and politicians take note. In Ohio the fate of high school football lies in the hands of governor Mike DeWine, who spent time last week on the phone with superintendents across the state, some of which no doubt made their own Trevor Lawrence statement – People are going to be at risk if we play, or don’t play. Let us play.
DeWine is quick to trot out science to back up his oft-shifting direction with the pandemic, and when he showed on a graph last week that Mercer County led the state in Covid cases ‘per 100,000’ it raised the ire of more than one.
“There aren’t 100,000 in Mercer County,” said St. Henry resident Tim Boeckman. “Never have been. Don’t skew the facts.”
But science, where football is concerned, is squarely in the huddle with Trevor Lawrence, and not DeWine, along with logic, and the choice of opting out of liability.
It remains to be seen if the governor really has any of his own. I’m guessing if he was up for re-election in November, he’d say, “Let me play.”