Playing football putting players at risk? That's not the way Nick Saban sees it
If the health and safety of college football players is the highest priority, should the college football season be canceled to ensure the players are safe?
Some are making that argument this week but Nick Saban recently made the opposite one in an ESPN interview with Chris Low.
The way Saban views the situation, which he understands better than just about anyone weighing in on the topic, his players are at a lower risk of contracting COVID thanks to the steps put in place by Alabama and the SEC well before plans for the upcoming season were laid out.
“I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban said in the interview with ESPN. “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home.
“We have around a 2 percent positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”
One key aspect that seems to be overlooked is the fact the SEC plans to test players often during the season. If a player does contract the virus, they will have every opportunity to quarantine the player and minimize their exposure to others quickly and deal with any and all health issues that may arise.
Those testing protocols will likely go away the moment the season is canceled. The virus will still be an issue for these players even if there is no season.
“We also test anybody that has symptoms and have an open testing site where they can go and get tested as many times as they want or any time they feel like they need to,” Saban said. “But our guys aren’t going to catch (the virus) on the football field. They’re going to catch it on campus. The argument then should probably be, ‘We shouldn’t be having school.’ That’s the argument. Why is it, ‘We shouldn’t be playing football?’ Why has that become the argument?”
Saban raises a good question and it’s one that’s not been answered by anyone claiming that the season needs to be canceled immediately.