The latest details of Stephon Gilmore’s COVID-19 diagnosis prove the Patriots should not have played in Week 4.
Football fans were left stunned — well, sort of — when it was reported that the Patriots’ matchup with the Chiefs in Week 4 was rescheduled for Monday night, just two days removed from the news of quarterback Cam Newton testing positive for the coronavirus.
Leading up to the game, all of other Patriots’ tests came back negative, which seemingly gave the league the green light in terms of not postponing the game until later in the season.
But, as stressed by medical professionals and disease experts over the last several months, it generally takes multiple days to accurately determine if somebody is carrying COVID-19, so using a few batches of negative tests was an alarmingly irresponsible justification for moving forward with the game.
Taking that into consideration, it’s not at all surprising that Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday, putting his status for Sunday’s game against Denver (if it’s played) in serious jeopardy. The team swiftly canceled practice and reports suggest things will be kept virtually exclusive on Thursday.
However, the latest details on Gilmore’s positive test prove that the Patriots’ showdown with Kansas City should NOT have happened. Per ESPN insider Adam Schefter, Gilmore had dinner with Newton the night before he contracted the virus.
Assuming this report is true — Schefter usually doesn’t miss — it means that the Patriots didn’t have any real incentive to determine who was in close proximity to Newton in the days leading up to his diagnosis.
Truth be told, most of the roster was probably near him to some extent during practice, but the fact that Gilmore reportedly had dinner with him on Friday night changes everything. In order to prevent an outbreak, the All-Pro corner should have been immediately ordered to self quarantine.
In other words, Gilmore shouldn’t have been anywhere near the field on Monday night. Not only did he play, however, but he also embraced Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes at midfield after the game. The NFL should literally be on its knees praying that its most gravitating superstar isn’t forced to miss time on the COVID-19 reserve list. What a disastrous look that would be.
The Patriots had approximately 48 hours between Newton’s diagnosis and Monday night’s game to figure out how to proceed in terms of figuring out who came in close contact with the former MVP. You can certainly blame the NFL for putting them in that situation, but it really looks like the only precaution New England took was taking two separate planes to Kansas City.
It’s obviously a little head-scratching that this news about Gilmore having dinner with Newton surfaced after the fact, so maybe the Patriots don’t deserve to be eviscerated for playing the 30-year-old CB.
Whatever the case, bottom line is that this game should have never been played and fans should be pointing their fingers at the NFL for not taking action immediately after Newton’s positive test.