Pittsburgh Steelers fans around the globe spent the last 72 hours hating the Baltimore Ravens even more than they normally do. It was the outbreak within the Ravens’ locker room which ultimately forced the game to be postponed twice, eventually settling on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET.
“How dare the Ravens be so careless!” Steelers fans would scream on social media.
Then the news came Friday where three Steelers, Stephon Tuitt, Isaiah Buggs and Jerald Hawkins, were all placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
Can’t blame the Ravens for this one, but fans should remember some of the intricacies of the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 List.
First, a player who is considered a high-risk contact can be placed on the list. This happened with Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Williams, Jerald Hawkins and Jaylen Samuels after Vance McDonald’s positive test after the game vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
Second, the NFL does not require teams to make the difference public. In other words, Tuitt, Hawkins and Buggs could all be high-risk contacts with no one testing positive at this point.
Next, the time spent on the Reserve/COVID-19 List also depends on the severity of the illness. If a person is asymptomatic, they don’t have to remain on the list as long as someone who is showing symptoms of the coronavirus. It should be noted it is impossible for a player who has tested positive to play in the same week they test positive, regardless of symptoms being present or not.
Lastly, a player could miss more than one game after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. The player has to be symptom free, and test negative for consecutive days, before they are permitted to re-enter a facility and begin getting reacclimated to their usual surroundings.
The biggest issue with these protocols is so much of them happen behind closed doors. When fans see players on the list, they immediately fear the worst, and rightfully so, but if a player is asymptomatic they could return to the team after a game off.
What seems so black and white is anything but, as it pertains to how the NFL built their protocols for teams to follow for this unique 2020 season. The Ravens organization has been the poster boy of what not to do within these protocols, but this is clearly something every team will likely deal with at some point or another. The key is to not have a few positive results turn into a full-on outbreak.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Ravens in Week 12 at Heinz Field.