The idea of leadership has consumed us this year.
Like it or not, those who serve in positions of power set the tone. And when it comes to the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the NBA, the men at the top have gone about handling things one of two ways during a global pandemic: Irresponsibly, or with great caution.
Sunday morning, the Cleveland Browns announced that Baker Mayfield had been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time an NFL franchise has had to deal with something like this. It happened with Matthew Stafford and the Lions, Andy Dalton and the Cowboys, and Cam Newton and the Patriots, as he tested positive last month. And before any of Sunday’s slate of games began, we watched the 49ers and Packers play last Thursday in a game in which multiple players on both teams either had tested positive or been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, as the Packers had their facility shut down last week.
But yet, the games will go on.
“We cannot grow complacent — not the players, not of the coaches, not the rest of personnel,” Goodell said last month.
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Last Friday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Justin Turner all released statements to address what happened after Game 6 of the World Series when Turner was on the field celebrating a championship with his teammates even after testing positive for COVID-19 and removed from the field.
Manfred decided no action was needed, while Turner and the Dodgers “apologized.”
“We all have made mistakes as we navigated these unprecedented challenges and have tried to learn from those mistakes so they are not repeated,” Manfred wrote. “With this in mind, I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward.”
Last Thursday, it was reported that the NBA is open to allowing a small number of fans inside suites at arenas next season depending on certain regulations and protocols.
The league that successfully made it through the bubble without any positive tests is trying to figure out a safe way to let fans back in. And even though the league will face new challenges, as it won’t have the luxury of a bubble next season, the stark contrast between how they’re handling things compared to the NFL and MLB is impossible to ignore.
“As Dr. Fauci says, the virus will decide,” Silver said last month. “If there truly is a second wave, things like that could push us back. We’re also very mindful that while it’s fantastic what’s happened in this bubble, we love our fans and want to bring them back into the arena and we want to do it safely. So if there are advancements right on the horizon. That will be a reason to wait.”
According to the New York Times, America is setting coronavirus case records like we’ve never seen before, as more than 132,700 new cases were announced on Friday, as we endured a stretch of more than 1,000 deaths for four consecutive days.
“Driven by surges in the United States and Europe, new daily cases have surpassed 605,000 globally for the first time and a harrowing 50 million total cases appears to be close on the horizon.”
If you haven’t noticed by now, COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. For now, we have to figure out a way to get by until this is over, as it’s already been decided that the games will go on. But, how they go on says a lot about who is leading these leagues at this moment.
On Saturday, we found out who America’s new leaders will be. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen how American sports commissioners will lead as we inch closer to 2021.
Some of those leaders have a plan while the others are completely lost. Keep that in mind the next time you step into a voting booth or are online searching for tickets to a game.