If only these big-time college football coaches had the same energy for Black Lives Matter.
And except for a PR-written press statement or canned video by many during the height of the marches and protests against police brutality and social injustice in America, none were to be found.
Yes, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney were all missing in action. Sadly, they weren’t there for their players when it came to real life, the real daily struggle they face when they aren’t wearing some uniform and helmet on Saturday afternoon.
That has changed. It’s play time now. And these M.I.A. coaches are front and center. All of them on their soapboxes, talking to any camera or microphone that will have them.
They want to save now. But not Black lives. They are willing to put a lot of Black lives in peril because they want to save college football, their careers and, more importantly, their livelihoods this season.
At best, these coaches are disingenuous. At worst, these coaches are selfish and misguided.
They are willing to put their players in harm’s way despite not knowing the future ramifications. And they don’t mind being the front men on this full-blown money grab because they know years from now, they won’t be left holding the bag or be held responsible if all hell breaks loose.
The blame will go to the kids who wanted to play and the universities that turned the other way in the midst of a crisis. The very notion that the players — many African Americans who fuel the college football machine — are better off playing football than not is irresponsible.
Especially since these are kids, student-athletes. You can’t compare them to pro athletes who are adults and making millions of dollars at their professions. And even with that, those players have unions and can negotiate with their respective leagues.
There are too many unknowns and long-term dangers doctors can’t predict for these students playing football during a pandemic that has rocked the world and still has America on its knees, and that includes the heart issues now associated with COVID-19.
“I want to play, but I want to play for the kids’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban said to ESPN. “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety.
“Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a two percent positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of July. It’s a lot higher than that in society.”
Yes, but what Saban failed to mention is that there will be no social distancing on the football field. By the nature of the game, players will be all over each other. It will be impossible to keep sweat and saliva from being exchanged. And the pro leagues can’t seem to stop their athletes from violating protocols, you think college coaches can do the same? On a college campus? With parties every weekend?
And if it’s so safe, as many as these coaches have preached, why in the world would colleges want the players to sign COVID waivers, releasing the schools from all liability to related illnesses.
If you’re a player, that should tell you all you need to know. The coaches and schools can’t fully protect your health. Hence, it’s only goal is to rack up the TV network money and protect themselves against you getting any of it if you fall ill many years after leaving college.
It would be one thing if the schools said as a whole it would ensure the players’ safety and take care of medical bills and expenses incurred if one of its players contracted the coronavirus.
And what if all these college coaches making millions of dollars off these players’ backs, donated all their earnings this season into a trust fund to help pay for those who get ill during this frightening chapter of life.
No one has heard that speech yet from any of those guys.
And stop with the kids want to play routine. Of course, they do. They also always want to go back out for another play after a concussion or a serious injury, too.
The reason they don’t is because a doctor tells them it isn’t in their best interest. These are the times that adults have to step in and save the kids from themselves, and stop them from making a mistake they will one day regret.
Shame on some of these big-time coaches for only being willing to fight for something that in the grand scheme of life is pretty minuscule. Given our current state, that’s what college football is.