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Monday, December 11, 2023
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Foul play: athletes forget who the real heroes are

Professional athletes show ignorance by breaking social distancing

<p>“Somehow, the NBA thought it would be wise to force its stars to come together from different cities across the U.S. and play in a meaningless exhibition game,” Anthony DeCicco writes.</p>

“Somehow, the NBA thought it would be wise to force its stars to come together from different cities across the U.S. and play in a meaningless exhibition game,” Anthony DeCicco writes.

States like Georgia and Tennessee plan on reopening businesses and loosening social distancing guidelines by next week.

But some athletes are already ahead of the game. Instead of throwing a ball around, a handful of professional athletes are throwing caution to the wind.

This unprecedented time has resulted in differing opinions and borderline chaos. 

New York is taking serious safety precautions but other states, such as South Carolina and Florida, are already reopening beaches and retail stores. Nobody is on the same page and it’s evident.

Many say sports reflect society. And the world of sports has dealt with the pandemic in its own way, both at a league and individual level. While most athletes and league figures have been abiding by social-distancing guidelines, others have taken a different approach. Multiple athletes have posted photos of themselves not practicing social distancing, putting themselves at risk of not only contracting, but also spreading the virus. Many professional athletes are often stereotyped as reckless and irresponsible, but the way some athletes have handled Covid-19 only solidifies that. 

This is not the example you want to set. Not as a professional athlete, and not as a human being.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown tweeted a group photo with his cousin Antonio and quarterback Lamar Jackson after their group workout on April 1. The three have their arms around each other as if the state of Florida had not issued social distancing orders.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott made headlines when he blatantly disregarded Centers for Disease Control guidelines when he had a gathering at his house which he described as a “home dinner” with less than ten people. Cowboys running back Ezekel Elliott was also suspected of being at the gathering.

Prescott was also seen two weeks earlier training with former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. The two even got together in a group photo with three others, putting their arms around each other without a care in the world.

Actions speak louder than words. These actions scream ignorance.

They show a certain level of insensitivity that is unacceptable. These men have simply disregarded the fact that over 170,000 people have died from this virus worldwide. They disregarded the fact that healthcare workers are putting their lives at risk every day to provide for those who have been affected by this virus. They go into the line of fire not knowing if they will make it home and see their children. In a society where athletes are viewed as idols and heros, these men are not living up to their standard.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic. It takes a certain level of gall to defy public health guidelines. The scariest part about it all is that these men don’t even seem to care that they are seen breaking social distancing. 

The stupidity to not only break social distancing, but then post pictures of you doing it on social media is mind-boggling.

Fame, youth and athleticism do not make you immune. 

If you pay attention to social media, television or simply open your damn eyes and look outside, you can see the destructive force of the coronavirus.

But this problem doesn’t seem to relate to them. They are professional athletes and that makes them invincible. They don’t have to follow the rules because this is beneath them. 

Over the sounds of crying nurses and families losing loved ones, you see professional athletes throwing a ball around, because in their world, everything’s OK.

Reflect on everything that's going on around us. Think about all of the families this virus is tearing apart. Your actions have consequences. Show appreciation for the people who deserve it and stay home.

Anthony DeCicco is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at and on Twitter @DeCicco42.

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Anthony DeCicco is the Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum. His words have appeared in outlets such as SLAM Magazine In 2020, he was awarded First Prize for Sports Column Writing at the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. In his free time, he can be found watching ‘90s Knicks games and reading NFL Mock Drafts at 3 a.m. 



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