One of the quirky things about COVID-19 is that we stumble into behavior that we think is necessary, but ends up being redundant.


You’re walking down the sidewalk wearing a mask, to be a good neighbor. But the guy walking his dog the other way is more than 15 feet across the street, so spit particles would have to go a long way to reach you, or anybody else maintaining a proper distance.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, but we end up in these situations that seem goofy, like the neighbor I saw wearing a mask while pulling weeds by himself in his fenced-in back yard. It’s not entirely practical, so we instead find ourselves looking good in the optics department while giving off the impression that we’re doing the right thing.

That was Aaron Rodger’s take, in a nutshell, when dissecting the NFL’s protocol on a recent appearance with Pat McAfee:

“You can go down to practice and hit each other and be in close contact, but you have to have plexiglass between you and the guy next to you in the locker room. I just think some of those things to me, don’t really add up.” 

He’s correct. It starts with science, but then you add these extra layers that turn out to be redundant or pointless, which results in good optics but doesn’t necessarily provide anything practical or useful. You can tackle a guy and be 12 inches from his face, but you’re not supposed to shake hands after the game. Nothing about that interfaces properly.

And it’s worth pointing out that he’s not dismissing COVID-19. He’s not labeling it a non-threat; he’s just wondering if some of these NFL protocols really truly make sense, or if they’re just using them for the sake of using them, regardless of whether they help stop the spread of the virus or not.