Raheem Mostert realized early how dangerous COVID-19 would be

Liz Roscher
·3 min read

When San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert canceled a Bay Area autograph signing on March 4, it seemed like a slight overreaction. At that time, California Gov. Gavin Newsom had just declared a state of emergency in the state and there was an outbreak in the San Francisco area, but COVID-19 had yet to really take hold in the United States. There were less than 200 confirmed cases in the U.S., and very few restrictions on where people could go and what they could do.

A month later, everything has changed and Mostert looks wise for canceling his appearance, which he did with this tweet.

He also used that tweet to announce that he and his wife, Devon, are expecting baby No. 2 in October.

Mostert’s pregnant wife and 10-month-old son were behind his decision to take the COVID-19 outbreak seriously, earlier than even the North American sports leagues did. The autograph signing featured Joe Montana, Klay Thompson and Patrick Willis, but in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Mostert said that canceling his appearance, which would have involved flying to the Bay Area from his home in Cleveland, was an easy decision to make.

“It wasn’t a hard call for me,” Mostert said. “First and foremost, I thought about my family. I didn’t want to put them in that situation where I would be the only one that traveled to the Bay Area, expose myself to multiple people and then come back with the virus. Not that that would have necessarily happened, but I didn’t want to put us in that situation. … I wanted to look out for my family and everyone else. So the best option was to stay home.”

In an appearance on the Jim Rome Show just before the sports leagues began shutting down, Mostert recalled talking to his wife about how important it is for their son that they protect themselves.

“One of the biggest things for me, if you get to know me, is my family. One of the things I was telling myself … I was talking with my wife, too, is that it was very important for us to stay ahead of this thing no matter what and protect ourselves. Because we have an eight-month-old right now. His immune system is still growing, and he’s not ready for that type of stuff that’s going on in the world right now.”

Mostert’s high profile following his breakout season with the Niners (and the team’s subsequent defeat in Super Bowl LIV) meant he had a lot more to do this offseason than ever before. But he told the Chronicle that he has no problem sacrificing all of the autograph signings and meet-and-greets for the sake of everyone’s safety.

“I had some other opportunities, but this isn’t about me, though,” Mostert said. “It’s about the people out there. There are bigger issues than me canceling an autograph signing or whatever. I just wanted to people to know that we have to play our role and do our part and have each other’s back.

“That’s the most important thing at this time when this virus is just spreading like crazy. We all have to make sure that we’re doing our part.”

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