by Tom Swift

I’ve never been a big Sean Payton fan. But the head coach of the New Orleans Saints deserves credit for the good he did when he went public this week following his positive test for COVID-19, the first person in the NFL known to have contracted the virus. Payton didn’t just recover in private. He made a public statement:

This is not just about social distancing. It’s shutting down here for a week to two weeks. If people understand the curve, and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it. Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. It’s not complicated to do what they’re asking of us. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact.

I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I’m lucky. Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can’t handle it. So we all need to do our part. It’s important for every one of us to do our part.

Given the lack of moral authority and personal integrity in the place most of us would naturally turn in a time like this, the White House, in reading Payton’s statement — I especially appreciate that he affirms “experts” and says this isn’t “complicated” — it occurs that the CDC and the WHO should call on more celebrities to educate the masses. Athletes are especially poised to have an affect given that their form of entertainment, which is wildly popular throughout the country, cannot proceed without the efforts of all of us to combat COVID-19.

I hear and read many people lament that they miss sports — that being confined to their home wouldn’t be so bad if they could watch basketball, hockey, baseball, and the like.

Payton could have added: if you don’t take this virus seriously we very well might not be playing football this season.

If the threat of death itself is not enough to change behavior maybe the possible death of an NFL season is.