In a podcast appearance, Kirk Cousins questioned the efficiency of masks and said he was “at peace” with getting COVID, even if he died from it.
The quote that got the QB into hot water was when he told Kyle Brandt, “if I die, I die” if he, indeed, contracts COVID-19.
The sports media and social media alike immediately jumped on the story, calling Cousins out or defending him or simply comparing him to Ivan Drago.
To me, this is just sad. It’s a situation that, again, illustrates American complacency with a deadly pandemic. It may seem far-fetched, but imagine a world where folks with major platforms i.e. politicians, celebrities and athletes, spoke with the kind of urgency to get this virus under control, not rush back to “normal.”
Around 10 minutes into the podcast, Brandt asked Cousins to rate his COVID concern on a scale of 1-10. “If one is the person who says, ‘masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings’ and ten is, ‘I’m not leaving my master bathroom for the next ten years,’ where do you land?”
Cousins laughed and responed saying, “I’m not gonna call anybody stupid, for the trouble it would get me in. But I’m about a .000001.”
“Really how come?” Brandt wondered.
“I want to respect what other people’s concerns are. For me personally… 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.”
Cousins went on to talk to Brandt about his decision to wear a mask for others, not himself.
“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,” he said.
I’m not going to pretend to be an epidemiologist, but individuals alone cannot solve an international problem. In this county, however, many think of the pandemic as some outside force that will not affect me until it actually infects me. A mask? It’s about my rights and my liberty. And who else has heard the phrase, “I will be fine if I get the virus”?
But the virus has never been about me or you. It’s about all of us. An NFL team captain and quarterback, of all people, should know it takes an entire team to get across the goal line.
Even in a scenario where Cousins gets sick and has to sit a season out, he already has his money — unlike most NFL players. He signed an unprecedented $84 million, fully guaranteed three year contract in 2018.
Fortunately, Cousins is at an age and fitness level where COVID-19 is not inherently deadly. And he is taking mask precautions, but only for the safety of his teammates, not because of any “personal feelings” he has about the dangers of the virus.
But perhaps he should talk to the 30-year-old Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves. After contracting COVID-19, the MLB all-star got on his knees to pray, asking God “please don’t take me.”
Or what about University of Arizona wide receiver, Jaden Mitchell, a college athlete who lost 14 pounds and called the virus, “no joke.”
Cousins also has coaches and team personnel in their 60s. So no, the virus has never been about just him.
However foolish Cousins’ statement may have been, he mentioned death as if it was just another thing that could happen if he contracted this disease.
It’s certainly a possibility to anyone who contracts the virus. But Cousins wouldn’t have said what he said if this country wasn’t already so profoundly numb to nearly 185,000 dead Americans.
It did not have to be this way, but we’ve grown accustomed to American carnage.
There’s nothing normal about that.