Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

NFL testing will consume resources that could be devoted to the general public

The NFL has given players a short time frame to decide to opt out of the 2020 season and, once they do, there is no going back.

If/when NFL players arrive for work with a testing process that potentially will happen on a daily basis, the resources devoted to testing players, coaches, and other key personnel definitely will take away testing capacity that could be devoted to the general public. It’s a basic fact that has yet to be addressed by the league of the NFL Players Association.

At some point, they’ll each have to address the reality that NFL teams may be getting roughly 180 tests conducted and analyzed in less than a full day, while the average citizen must wait for up to a week.

In his new Football Morning in America column, Peter King explains that the Vikings have a 40-foot trailer outside the team’s facility -- blocking coach Mike Zimmer’s parking spot -- for the purposes of gathering samples. According to King, the league has retained BioReference Laboratories to conduct the testing, with the understanding that the results will be provided within 24 hours.

Some teams’ samples will have to be flown to a testing facility, because BioReference Laboratories doesn’t have a testing facility in every NFL city. But BioReference Laboratories will do what it has to do to expedite the testing process, presumably because the NFL is paying a premium for that service.

Still, anything and everything that BioReference Laboratories is doing to collect and analyze, based on 32 NFL teams, nearly 5,800 tests each and every day could be done to provide results more quickly for members of the general public. In its Orlando bubble, the NBA has arranged for BioReference Laboratories to provide the same resources to the local population.

Will the NFL make similar arrangements in each and every NFL city? If the NFL is planning to do so, it has yet to say so.

Some would argue that the diversion of extra resources to the NFL is justified by the importance of ensuring that football season happens. Non-football fans would feel differently, especially if they or a family member will be waiting for a week to get COVID-19 results while the local NFL team is getting daily results of daily testing of roughly 180 people.