Lamar Jackson's 'Funday' in Florida finally canceled amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Cassandra Negley
·3 min read

Tuesday afternoon update: Lamar Jackson’s “Funday with LJ” event was canceled Tuesday afternoon after backlash over public health concerns amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in South Florida.

Original story: Lamar Jackson is moving forward with his third annual “Funday with LJ” event this weekend in his hometown of Pompano Beach, Florida, which continues to set single-day highs for new coronavirus cases.

Jackson shared a flyer for the event on his Instagram feed late Monday. The day of fun is scheduled for July 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McNair Park.

The events include go-kart racing, a rock climbing wall, 7-on-7 flag football, water slides, an obstacle course, a game truck and a food truck. The Baltimore Ravens quarterback will not be signing autographs during the event so he can “have an awesome time” with the attendees. It seems likely a hundred kids or more could show up.

In another time, it’s an incredible gesture by the NFL’s reigning MVP to keep meeting and playing with kids in his hometown. It’s not only a special moment for them, but an opportunity to see that someone from their own spot in the world can go on to do big things.

But this is the time of COVID-19, and the event is a concern. All adults are required to wear masks, per the event flyer, which is an excellent start. The CDC also recommends social distancing, which is not mentioned and incredibly unlikely given the activities, and there is no mention of children wearing masks. Once one child is infected with the virus, it can spread to others and they can bring it home to the adults in their lives, not to mention anyone else they may be seeing.

A waiver must be signed for children to participate, and it will likely include this year that there is a risk of getting the novel coronavirus. Waivers are standard at events like these, and Jackson has used them at previous Fundays.

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, AFC quarterback Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens signs autographs for fans during Pro Bowl NFL football practice in Kissimmee, Fla. Lamar Jackson announced he will hold his annual “Funday with LJ” event in Florida amid the state's spike in coronavirus cases. Jackson's third annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday in his hometown of Pompano Beach, Florida, according to a flyer shared on his Instagram page Monday, July 6, 2020. Social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people is currently not allowed in Pompano Beach, according to the city’s website.(AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)
Lamar Jackson is still advertising his "Funday with LJ" event this weekend that could draw hundreds to a park in Florida. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

The most concerning aspect of the event is that it is happening in South Florida, where COVID-19 cases continue to surge. The state set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Saturday with 11,458. In Broward County there are 22,595 positive cases as of Tuesday with 2,317 hospitalizations and 418 deaths.

The entire state hit its highest positivity rate on Tuesday, with 16.27 percent. It has been at or above 14 percent for eight consecutive days, per TV network WESH.

The Funday could contribute further to those high numbers if it goes on as planned while Florida attempts to stop the spread of the virus just as major sports leagues are arriving for bubble seasons. The NFL Players Association also has urged players to discontinue working out in groups.

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