Former college football coach Lou Holtz has become the latest individual to make ridiculously stupid comments about the return of college football during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Thursday, Holtz reacted to the latest news of athletic conferences like the Big Ten altering their fall football schedules amidst the pandemic. He then took the liberty of drawing an absurd comparison between college football and World War II.
“The way it is right now, they just don’t want to have sports and there’s no way in this world that you can do anything in this world without a risk,” said Holtz. “People stormed Normandy… they knew there were going to be casualties, they knew there were going to be risks but it was a way of life.”
Holtz’s comments not only downplay the lives of servicemen who fought for our country during that war, but they also show a glaring insensitivity to the lives of college athletes and university personnel who will be putting themselves in danger in order for games to be played this fall.
Holtz is most known for his tenure at Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996, winning a national championship for the Irish in 1988. Having coached on the major college level for 33 years, Holtz, of all people, should know that caring for the safety of the athletes and other individuals in your program is of the utmost importance. Especially at a time where over 133,000 people have died because of this virus and spikes of infections are continuing to rise in states across the country.
Holtz is a part of a problematic segment of our society that is so detached from the realities of this pandemic that they look at the loss of human life as a necessary means to an end in order to play the sports that contribute to their pockets. Hundreds of millions of dollars are generated by these conferences and universities on the backs of unpaid college athletes, who remain classified as amateurs and don’t have access to a labor union.
In the interview, Holtz went on to imply that coronavirus precautions would have a detrimental impact on “underprivileged” students who wouldn’t have access to education.
“How are you going to have football, when they don’t even want to have school?” said Holtz. “The underprivileged, the people from the poor neighborhoods where are they going to get an education? What has happened to our way of life?”
While there would need to be a solution to providing access to kids who don’t have access to online resources, the thought of passing along a deadly disease on campus without the proper precautions could have an impact on many of these students’ lives.
The same standard should apply for college football. We know the absence or alteration of the game could have an impact on many of these athletic departments but it would be worth it if you can limit the spread of the virus and prevent untimely death.
Why should athletes or other individuals be subjected to life-threatening conditions just because a certain segment of the population can’t accept the possibility of a new normal?
The “way of life” that Holtz alludes to multiple times in his Fox interview is simply exploitation.
Holtz doesn’t mind these athletes going out to play because he and others like him around this country still look at these athletes as pawns to increase their pockets or their entertainment.
It is becoming more and more evident that college football will not be the same this year and that “our way of life” will not be the same for a while.
Conferences, universities, and athletes will have to be forced to make adjustments to ensure the safest possible mechanisms for sports.
Taking these precautions is the right thing to do, no matter if Holtz or any other one of these coaches tries to tell you otherwise.