In this ever-changing 2020 sports landscape, different teams, conferences, and leagues are trying to stay on top of self-determined COVID protocols. At any event, their unquestioned top priority is keeping all participants safe. However, if we’re honest, this is the wild west. There are no standard protocols in place that are consistent from one sport, league or conference to another. The type of testing and frequency are just a couple of things that vary amongst the different organizations.
In the Dez Bryant situation with Baltimore, where there’s a last-minute positive test before kickoff, it’s conceivable the NFL would have a plan in place and—out of an abundance of caution— would consider canceling the game, concerned Bryant might have potentially spread the virus to his teammates. On Tuesday night, if that option ever existed in the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys, it was rejected. Just minutes after the news on Bryant broke, the Fox Sports crew in Hollywood was puzzled by the NFL’s response, or lack thereof, and Curt Menefee and Howie Long weren’t afraid to share their thoughts with a national audience asking the same questions.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reports Dez Bryant tests positive and out of game
Following an emotional story on this day 40 years ago when Howard Cosell broke the news on air that John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York City, Jay Glazer arrived on the Fox NFL football field set. He had some breaking news of his own. Baltimore Ravens receiver and former Cowboys star Dez Bryant had tested positive for COVID-19.
After an inconclusive test earlier this morning for COVID, Bryant thought he was OK and went down to the stadium and started warming up. At the stadium, doctors retested, and that test came back positive. Bryant was sent home and wouldn’t get to make his much-anticipated return to the NFL and debut for the Ravens against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Bryant’s fairytale script had a very 2020 ending. He tweeted his thoughts on the whole situation.
“Tell me why they pull me from warming up so I can go get tested… my sh– come back positive… I tested positive for Covid WTF.
Curt Menefee and Howie Long puzzled after Jay Glazer’s report
After Jay Glazer’s initial breaking news report, Howie Long asked the question the rest of America was asking—how do they deal with the contact tracing?
Menefee then mentioned how the NFL now performs day-of-game testing, which is why they can get a positive result just before the game. He mentioned how it happened in baseball, referring to the Justin Turner incident in the decisive Game 6 of the World Series.
Following the next commercial break, Menefee returned to Long’s earlier question.
“If you’re wondering at home, well, with contact tracing, what about all the guys around him? Can they play? We don’t know the answer,” Menefee admitted. “As of right now, they’re trying to figure that out at the stadium. Obviously, as soon as we know something, we will tell you.”
Curt Menefee takes a shot at NFL’s response
After a pre-planned feature story on Dez Bryant’s return aired, the telecast returned to the Fox crew live in California. Menefee talked with Glazer about the pregame and how Bryant was on the field with other players. He asked if contact tracing was a concern for the rest of this game.
Glazer said he spoke with an NFL official, who indicated the league had done contact tracing from yesterday through today. The league performed their standard game-day testing. All tests were negative. Glazer concluded his latest nugget of news with the NFL said “there is not a concern.”
“Okay,” Curt Menefee and Howie Long sarcastically said simultaneously, clearly questioning the NFL’s decision to go on with the game. Menefee followed it up.
“We saw the guys around him. How could it not be a concern?” Menefee fired at Glazer, knowing full well he was just the messenger of the NFL’s response. Glazer joked he was no Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The segment concluded with Howie Long in a sincere moment.
“Hope everybody’s good,” Long said, with genuine concern for the health of those taking the field.
“Amen to that,” Menefee added.
The NFL made a calculated gamble, allowing the game between Baltimore and Dallas to happen. In the next few weeks, we’ll all know if it was worth the risk.