On Friday night, Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to opt out of the 2020 season. On Saturday afternoon, coach Andy Reid praised the doctor who has opted to avoid doing anything that may contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m a huge Larry Duvernay-Tardif fan,” Reid told reporters. “I also was raised by a doctor. So I understand the dedication that it takes to be a doctor. We’re all blessed to have doctors in our lives. They’re givers, they not takers. They’re givers and they’re healers. So they want the best for you. So Larry has that quality, and you’re seeing it to the utmost here. I just think it’s tremendous dedication to his profession, what his future’s gonna be, and mainly to the people that he gets to help.
“So my heart goes out to him. I had a great talk with him, great visit with him. His players support him. The veteran players support him, and the coaches support him. We understand when football’s over this is gonna be one of the greatest doctors ever.”
Duvernay-Tardif will forgo his $2.75 million salary for 2020, tolling his contract and receiving a stipend of $150,000, which will be recovered by the Chiefs in his 2021 salary.
In a statement issued Friday night, Duvernay-Tardif explained that his own experiences have demonstrated the realities of the pandemic, including the stress it places on the healthcare system. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus to our communities simply to play the sport I love,” he said, in a quote that should be regarded not just as a statement of his own beliefs but as a message to others who may be doing things that potentially transmit the virus to our communities.
If Duvernay-Tardif can forgo $2.6 million this year to help reduce the spread of the virus, there’s plenty that the rest of us can do that would have far smaller financial consequences.
For example, wear a mask — one that covers the mouth and the nose.