In the wake of the latest shutdown of the New England Patriots facility and the postponement of this week's game due to a fourth coronavirus case, one Boston doctor is saying the NFL should just cancel the season.
"Unpopular opinion: Cancel the @NFL season!" Boston Medical Center infectious disease Dr. Josh Barocas tweeted Sunday after news broke of the Patriots' latest positive COVID-19 test. "These are young men getting #COVID, & we don't understand long-term health effects. The #NFL is sacrificing the lives of (predominantly) Black men for a profit. Sound familiar?"
He followed that up with another tweet several hours later, saying NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith should use this as a discussion point for negotiations.
"If a player contracts #COVID19, will the #NFL pay for medical expenses incurred as a result of the infection long after the playing career is over? They should, or the players should strike."
Denver’s game at New England, originally scheduled for Sunday and then moved to Monday night when starting defensive tackle Byron Cowart tested positive for COVID-19, now will be played next Sunday. Cowart joined quarterback Cam Newton, practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray and cornerback Stephon Gilmore on the team's COVID-19/reserve list.
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The league said the decision to move this week's game was made "to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts."
The Patriots returned no positive tests Monday morning, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
A number of other schedule changes were also announced Sunday by the NFL, which has had to do some major juggling to the regular-season schedule due to coronavirus outbreaks with the Patriots and Tennessee Titans.
Newton and Gilmore were not present at Saturday’s practice and it’s unclear if they’ll be well enough to play next Sunday.
Newton's father said his son remains asymptomatic, but one report said he has yet to return two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, which would clear him to return to the team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.