Deion Sanders was an incredible football player — probably the best ever at what he did.
He falls well short of that lofty standard when it comes to opinions on matters of public health.
The Hall of Fame cornerback and two-time Super Bowl champion is now in the talking game, most notably as an analyst for NFL Network.
Deion’s COVID-19 take
He decided on his own Twitter platform on Thursday to share his thoughts on players opting out of sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He doesn’t think they should.
And not just NFL players, but those in “all sports.”
Here are his complete thoughts that he presumably collected and pondered before hitting the tweet button.
All Players OPTING out in all sports PLEASE BELIEVE the game will go on without u. This is a business & don’t u EVER forget that. There’s NO ONE that’s bigger than the game itself. Only the ref,umps & officials are that important that u can’t play without them. NOT YOU! #Truth
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) August 7, 2020
The best-case scenario here is that Sanders is coming from a place of concern over the financial health of athletes and pointing out the reality that sitting out is bad for athletes’ personal business.
Which is, of course, undeniable. Especially in the NFL, where fringe players with health concerns and modest bank accounts have faced excruciating decisions about the upcoming season. A season out of the league very well might mean the end of one’s football dreams and the financial rewards that come with them.
Players know the risks
What Sanders completely ignores in that scenario is the literal life-and-death aspect of a decision considering a pandemic that has claimed 161,000 American lives and 720,000 worldwide.
Players facing this antagonizing decision are acutely aware of the financial ramifications. The ones who ultimately opt out are weighing those concerns against higher priorities — primarily their own health or that of those around them.
This is coming from an NFL employee
The worst-case scenario with Deion’s tweet sees a pundit who deposits paychecks from NFL Network — an arm of the NFL — urging players to ignore their health concerns and play football.
We’re gonna give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume he’s speaking from the former scenario — which still isn’t great.
As for that part about players being replaceable and officials being indispensable? He’s gonna have to explain that one.
But honestly — for our sake and his — here’s hoping he doesn’t.
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