FOXBORO (CBS) – New England Patriots players don’t seem thrilled with the NFL’s handling of coronavirus cases that have yet again forced the team’s facility to be shut down ahead of the team’s game against the Denver Broncos.
After Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the team was still forced to travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL also denied the team’s request for a larger locker room space for the game.
In the days after the game, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and practice squad player Bill Murray also were added to the COVID-19 reserve list and the team’s facilities were closed until they could return to practice on Saturday.
During Saturday media availabilities, cornerback Jason McCourty was critical of league leadership for their handling of the situation.
“Between the players, the coaches, the administration, the staff, it is up to us to take care of one another, to make sure physically we are all set, make sure mentally because I think outside of here the people that don’t have to walk in our building — whether it is the league office, whether it is the NFLPA — they don’t care,” said McCourty. “We’re trying to get games played and we’re trying to get the season going. For them, it is not about our best interest, or our health and safety. It is about what can we make protocol-wise that sounds good, looks good and how can we go out there and play games.”
The team was slated for a Sunday walkthrough, but learned of a new positive test and the facility was yet again closed. Despite this, the NFL reportedly planned to go through with Monday night’s game between the Patriots and Broncos before opting to postpone the contest.
Several Patriots players remarked on the situation on social media. Though the comments weren’t specific, it appears the team is not thrilled.
— James White (@SweetFeet_White) October 11, 2020
— Damiere Byrd (@LookIn_Da_Miere) October 11, 2020
— Devin&Jason McCourty (@McCourtyTwins) October 11, 2020
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported Sunday that Patriots players “aren’t going to let the NFL unilaterally decide whether or not this game is played. If players and coaches aren’t comfortable, they won’t play.”
New England isn’t the only team expressing frustration. Denver players Shelby Harris and Calvin Anderson both tweeted complaints earlier in the week about being forced into a short week due to the new Monday kickoff.
“We are we getting punished when we did nothing wrong,” Harris tweeted. “Pats go on bye next week and we are stuck on a short week playing the dolphins help it make sense.”