Zachary Binney Pushing for NFL Bubble After Marlins OutbreakBy Connor Lynch
The NFL and NFLPA, if reports are anything to go by, didn’t give much consideration to operating in a bubble. One man, epidemiologist Zachary Binney, has been banging the drum for a bubble since before the NFL established it’s protocol.
With a full season to play, and the NFL overall involving much more personnel than other leagues, it wouldn’t have been as easy to implement as it has been for the NBA.
What Zachary Binney was advocating for was much more radical. He proposed 32 bubbles, one for each market, to prevent the coronavirus from infiltrating the NFL.
The league’s approach involves strict testing, but allows players to access their local communities. That is the same thing that MLB has done. However, that approach has come under scrutiny as the Miami Marlins experienced a huge outbreak one week into the season.
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Zachary Binney fears that a similar situation is bound to occur over the course of a 16-game NFL season.
“If you’re the NFL and you’re looking at what happened with the Marlins,” Binney said.
“You have to expect that something like this is going to happen to you — unless you are able to change course, reenter negotiations with the [NFL Players Association] and negotiate something like that home-market bubble.”
The NFL, as Binney points out, is a much larger risk than the MLB. Firstly team operations are just massive in the NFL. Secondly, the physical nature of football puts players at risk.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Sills and all the work that he and all of his colleagues at the league have put into trying to come up with the best plan that they can under the circumstances,” Binney said.
“But with that said, if you’re going to call the NFL’s plan a ‘virtual football bubble,’ then you have to call MLB’s plan a ‘virtual baseball bubble.’ [The NFL] would have to expect that the Dolphins are going to experience a different result than the Marlins, when I think, if anything, I think it’s going to be more difficult for the Dolphins because of the sheer number of people who are going to have to behave and not engage in risky behavior, as well as the additional close contact in football that doesn’t exist in baseball.”