July 25, 2021

Dwayne Haskins Partying At A Strip Club Was Rare Covid-19 Violation Among Athletes

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins was wrong to party maskless at a strip club Sunday. But the irresponsible Covid breach puts him among the vast minority of his fellow pro athletes. As sports leagues try to operate amidst the deadly pandemic, athletes have largely been asked to quarantine and isolate.And on the whole, they’ve followed the stringent guidelines — at least as far as we know. With the pandemic expected to continue for at least the first half of next year — incoming surgeon general Vivek Murthy says it’s realistic to expect vaccines to reach the general population by mid-summer or early fall — leagues will likely still demand players remain disciplined and abstain from most social encounters. Their behavior shows they’re capable of meeting the challenge. It’s probably the biggest reason why every major pro league has successfully finished, or is on track to successfully finish, its pandemic-filled season.The players deserve credit for their social austerity. There are nearly 1,700 active players in the NFL, and Haskins’ strip club rendezvous is the most egregious documented Covid violation — by far. That’s a pretty good percentage, especially considering the average NFL player is in his mid-20s.PROMOTEDTableau BrandVoice | Paid ProgramData-Driven Executives Share Advice On Tackling A New Business RealityJapanese Visionary Women BrandVoice | Paid ProgramInnovations Incorporating Traditional Japanese Crafts Into Modern LifeMitsubishi Heavy Industries BrandVoice | Paid ProgramOil & Gas Outlook – Embracing Change From Now To 2040This week, images surfaced of Haskins partying maskless with strippers on Sunday night. Hours earlier, Haskins started for Washington in its 20-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.On Tuesday, Washington said it was aware of the photos. Haskins tweeted an apology as well. “It was irresponsible and immature and I accept responsibility for my action,” he wrote, via ESPN.MORE FOR YOUWhy Sports TV Ratings Will Likely Still Suffer In 2021Justin Herbert And Other Impressive Rookie Quarterbacks Show There’s No Need For Full NFL PreseasonClemson Destroyed Notre Dame, But Fighting Irish Still Will Make College Football PlayoffsHaskins will likely be punished. Earlier this season, he was fined $4,833 for making reservations for a family friend to stay at the team hotel ahead of a game against the New York Giants. Haskins is the rare habitual offender, and with Washington on the cusp of clinching the NFC East, his misstep came at a costly time. He had already been demoted to third-string, and these actions should cause Washington to further reconsider its commitment to the 2019 first-round pick.There have been Covid flareups on some NFL teams this season, though notably there were no rescheduled games during Week 15. The New Orleans Saints were docked for a maskless locker room celebration; the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, who had 24 players and team members test positive at one point, were fined after league reviews as well.Last month, the Baltimore Ravens disciplined a strength coach for violating the rules, possibly contributing to an outbreak in their locker room.Up until Haskins, the most notable example of NFL player Covid negligence occurred in the quarterback room of the Denver Broncos, where all four QB’s were not consistently wearing masks in their meetings. When backup Jeff Driskel tested positive, they were fined and placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list, forcing the team to start rookie wideout Kendall Hilton under center.The situation in Denver highlights how even seemingly minor infractions — such as not always wearing masks in a meeting room — can torpedo an entire team. Players are responsible to their teammates, which is probably one of the reasons they’ve overwhelmingly followed the rules. Their actions impact everybody around them.That’s why sports leagues should be optimistic about player behavior not disrupting play in 2021. During the NBA Bubble, where players were isolated inside the Walt Disney World Resort for months, the most infamous infraction became an instant punchline: Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams escaping to pick up some strip club chicken wings.The MLB season ended with Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrating their World Series win, despite receiving a positive Covid test. He wasn’t penalized for his actions, and notably, his teammates expressed support. The episode was a symbol of our nation’s Covid fatigue.The pandemic has killed more than 310,000 Americans and forced more than 8 million Americans into poverty. Obviously, on the scale of sacrifices, wealthy athletes forgoing social engagements is towards the bottom of the list.But the remarkably low positive test rate among pro athletes shows the precautions they’re taking. There were 0 positive tests in the NBA bubble; the positive test rate in the NFL stood at .00023% as of Dec. 5.Nationwide, the seven-day positive test rate is at 11.2%, per John Hopkins University.Unlike essential workers and others, pro athletes are afforded the best prevention tools possible, including regular testing. But still: if more players acted like Haskins, the rates would be higher. It’s easy to pile on Haskins; but remember, his story is an anomaly. As a result, leagues are making it through the pandemic, and readying themselves for 2021.

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