The story began with the release of an episode of Spotify’s “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” podcast, in which Cousins was brought on to discuss a number of topics, one being COVID-19. The episode had originally been recorded in July.
What Kirk Cousins said about COVID-19
When asked where he falls on a scale of one to 10 with his coronavirus concerns (10 being very worried, one being “Masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings”), Cousins said he was a “.000001.” He was then asked to explain his answer, and said the following via the New York Post:
“I want to respect what other people’s concerns are. For me personally, just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it, I would say I’m gonna go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m gonna ride it out. I’m gonna let nature do its course. Survival-of-the-fittest kind of approach. And just say, if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that.
“So that’s really where I fall on it, so my opinion on wearing a mask is really about being respectful to other people. It really has nothing to do with my own personal thoughts.”
Naturally, characterizing a virus that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans as nature taking its course and survival of the fittest, as well as waving away the prospect of death, resulted in some raised eyebrows in the direction of the quarterback.
Kirk Cousins: COVID-19 safety still matters
The same day the podcast episode was published, Cousins spoke with reporters and addressed the comments.
Cousins said he wasn’t clear enough with his comments, and affirmed that while he does not have much personal fear of the virus, he practices safety measures for the sake of other people and the incoming football season.
“I went on that Kyle Brandt podcast about a month ago, maybe a month and a half ago, in July, and what I was trying to say back then, admittedly, I probably wasn't as clear as I would have liked to have been.
“But what I wanted to say then, what I would echo again now is that while the virus does not give me a great amount of personal fear, there's still great reason for me to engage in wearing a mask and social distancing and washing my hands as frequently as I can and following protocols that have been set in place, obviously to be respectful and considerate of other people, which is very important, but then also to be available for all 16 game this fall, because as the protocol is set up, if a player were to test positive, they would be potentially out of a game or games. And so there's plenty of reasons to wear a mask, social distance and be very vigilant to help stop the spread of the virus.
“That was the heart behind what I was trying to say in July. Admittedly, I didn't say it as clear as I would have liked to. So I just want to share that same message again and hopefully articulate it a little bit better. But that has always been my heart and is, again, now, just trying to say that.”
The threat of the coronavirus remains a major concern for the NFL, and has been felt in Cousins’ own training camp. So far, the Vikings have placed nine different players on the newly created reserve/COVID-19 list, which signifies a player testing positive for the virus or having been in close contact with an infected person. All nine have since been taken off the list.
The Vikings remain scheduled to open their season on Sept. 13 against the Green Bay Packers.
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