Ezekiel Elliott and the impending threat of an NFL season marred by coronavirus

Terez Paylor & Charles Robinson discuss Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's positive test for coronavirus, HIPAA violations and what NFL teams can do, if anything as the season approaches and the pandemic shows no signs of slowing in America.

Hear the full conversation on the Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video Transcript


TEREZ PAYLOR: Recently, several members of the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The NFL Network reported that on Monday, and one of them is Zeke Elliott. And that news was confirmed by his agent, Rocky Arceneaux. Although there seems to be a little bit of doubt as to who confirmed that news--


TEREZ PAYLOR: --I mean, look, everybody knows Zeke Elliott. He's a superstar. I think the first thing that comes to mind to me is like when you hear he has it, it's like, this is going to be the first of many because apparently he's asymptomatic. These are big strong athletic guys who are in great shape. Most of them are probably going to be asymptomatic. Who knows? We just know the testing needs to be on point because this is going to be the first of many I think.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, it-- look, I don't want to make light of it. But when I heard Zeke had it, Zeke is a very social guy, OK--

TEREZ PAYLOR: Yeah, he is.

CHARLES ROBINSON: --to put it mildly. So like when it was like, oh, Ezekiel Elliott got it, I'm like, OK, what do I know about Ezekiel Elliott going all the way back to Ohio State? Guy goes out a lot, goes out to a lot of concerts, is out and about, spends a lot of time in social situations. So I was kind of like, meh, yeah. I mean, that doesn't surprise me.

And frankly, there are a lot of guys like that in the NFL that are very social people. It would not surprise me if guys end up getting it. I think what is striking, though, is, I mean, like, I thought it was interesting that it was like a number of Texans players and a number of Cowboys players.

Now, I live in Houston. I got sources with the Texans. I got sources with the Cowboys. By the time I got on the phone for this, this HIPPA stuff-- him complaining about that was pretty-- you know, they were a little freaked out. Because this is-- I sort of got a joke off, you know, to a couple of people. I was like, yeah, this is only like the 8,000th HIPPA violation in the last 12 months. Because every time somebody blows out an ACL, or has a surgery, or whatever, either the agent leaks it, or the team leaks it, or somebody leaks it. Which is, hey, that's a violation. Like, any of that medical information, once it's leaked without, you know, basically the player giving the thumbs up on it is improper.

But what I thought was striking was we're in situations now where guys can self-regulate. And technically you could keep yourself from getting it. We haven't even started the season. Like, we haven't gotten all these guys together. We haven't even had, you know-- like, I think it's like, wow, it spread to, you know, multiple players have it already. And we're not even really in a situation where these guys are going to be slamming into each other in practices and--

TEREZ PAYLOR: I know, man.

CHARLES ROBINSON: So I'm like how are you going to contain this? Once it happens-- say it just happens-- how do you contain that spread?

TEREZ PAYLOR: Honestly, you know what? Listen, this is a family. We'll be candid here. There's not going to be a whole lot of containing it, OK?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right, right. Agree.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Multiple cowboys have it. Multiple Texans have it. Who knows if those guys were even together. This thing is all here all ready. Guys are just going to catch it. And, you know, a lot of players-- because they're young, and because they're in good shape, and because they need the money-- they're going to feel compelled to have to just play. Because they can't lose a year in their 20s when they will be making at least half a million dollars, OK? Like, it is what it is there.

The NFL's going to have all these regulations in place to try to space out lockers. But what are you going to do that in the huddles?


TEREZ PAYLOR: Are you going to do that in huddles? And like, they're going to hit each other. Like, it is what it is.


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