Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday where co-host — and NFL Hall of Fame defensive end — Michael Strahan interviewed the Buckeye signal caller about the message behind his petition that now has nearly 280,000 signatures.
Aside from the simple desire to play, Fields also stated the safety measures that are being taken, which may soon be undermined by having an open campus.
“I would say my main message that I would like to get across to the Big Ten commissioner is just that we want to play football and that I feel like a lot of players feel safer around the facility and around our protocols rather than just being on campus like a regular student,” Fields said.
“For example, our safety protocol is we get tested twice a week and around the facility everyone wears masks and stuff like that. So I think a lot of players feel more safe around the facility rather than just being out in the community without being tested twice a week.”
You don’t have to look hard to find videos of campus parties and the exact opposite of social distancing happen. Campuses around the nation are already shutting down. North Carolina sent students home after one week. Notre Dame is sending them home for two weeks.
Surges in cases of the coronavirus are inevitable despite the lengths universities have gone in order to keep from having the virus brought to their campuses. For the regular student body, some of those lengths were immediately rendered moot.
Strahan asked Fields what he would say to the students who hit the parties as soon as they were back on campus.
“I would say to them, just kind of think of other people rather than yourself,” he said. “I think it’s kind of selfish, just to think about yourself. I understand that they’re doing that, but I would just tell them to think about other people and although the virus may not affect you that seriously I think it can affect others seriously. So my main message to them would be to just think about others in this situation.”
Fields isn’t alone in his message. The entire football program has done their part to limit the spread of the virus, which is one of the main reasons there are so many Buckeyes who want to play. They’ve seen that things can be handled with the proper protocols and having players bought in to following the rules.
With players from around the nation opting out every day, Fields is one of the few players whose draft position is pretty secure, so there is no real reason for him to opt in.
Except, of course, for all of the reasons he gave Strahan for wanting to play this fall.
“It’s really just for the love of the game. My love for Ohio State, my love for my coaches, my teammates, and again just really the safety reasons,” he said. “I feel like there’s a lot of people on our team that feel safer in the facility, so I would say just having us playing football in the facility, weekly, daily, I think that’ll keep us safe from the virus.”
Eventually, however, if the likely happens and there is no fall season for the Buckeyes, Fields will have a decision to make about playing in the winter.
Will all of those reasons for fighting for the fall still exist in the winter? Yes, but so will the oncoming reality of the 2021 NFL Draft.
“Right now I’m just taking it day by day,” Fields told Strahan. “One thing that I’ve learned over this whole process is that things can change daily, so right now I’m kind of just just taking each each day at a time, so I haven’t really thought about that, but hopefully I’ll come up with a decision if that happens and I’ll just pray about it.”