Florida State didn’t want to play after Clemson discovered an offensive lineman, who traveled with the team to Tallahassee, Florida, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Sunday night at his news conference, Swinney was upset at Florida State’s decision not to play and said that COVID-19 wasn’t the real reason.
“If the standard to play was zero positive tests, then we would have never had a season,” Swinney said. “This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game. And if they want to play Clemson, in my opinion, they need to come to Clemson or they need to pay for all expenses.”
Dabo Swinney was straight to the point in his Sunday teleconference saying that, "This game was not cancelled because of COVID, COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game. To me the Florida St. administration forfeited the game."
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— Todd Summers (@ToddSummers7) November 22, 2020
What positive test for Clemson set off alarm bells for Florida State?
The game was postponed less than four hours after it was scheduled to kick off. According to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, the Clemson player had gone home the weekend before and started not feeling well. While he previously tested negative and Clemson said it was cautious with the player, he ended up testing positive the day before the game. Clemson got the results of that test Saturday morning.
The offensive and defensive lines are the player units on the field that spend the most time close to each other. While there is little to no published data that shows the in-game spread of the coronavirus, Florida State said it wanted to be careful.
Both teams have dealt with coronavirus outbreaks. Florida State coach Mike Norvell missed time earlier this year after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was set to make his return to the field after missing two games with the virus. Clemson also had dozens of players infected with the virus in the spring.
Is Clemson, Dabo Swinney right to be upset?
While it’s easy to understand why Swinney is unhappy his team traveled to Tallahassee and didn’t play Saturday, his anger and frustration is in some dire need of perspective. Over 250,000 people in the United States have died because of the coronavirus this year and over 12 million people have been infected. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that’s getting worse as the winter holidays approach.
Swinney needs to realize that postponing a football game a few weeks isn’t that big of a deal. And he needs to make that realization really quickly.
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