SI’s Pat Forde Says Trump’s ‘Fumbling of Coronavirus’ Could Doom College Football Season

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Sports Illustrated columnist Pat Forde blasted President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and labeled him the destroyer of college football’s 2020 season, if it is indeed canceled.

Forde made his assertions in an op-ed blasting how President Trump has conducted policy during the COVID-19 hysteria.

The former ESPN columnist started his piece accusing Trump of attending college football games to “bathe his eternally needy ego in applause.” Of course, nearly every modern president has attended college football games while in office. Acting as if Trump was doing wrong when a dozen other presidents did the same thing smacks of Trump derangement.

Forde goes on to make a series of other assertions.

“Slow to respond,” Forde screeches, “quick to downplay the risk, unwilling to create a national strategy, quite willing to attack governors who took the pandemic seriously, pushing for premature openings of states, flaunting a no-mask stance for months and turning that into a belligerent political statement, Trump and his ideologues are now marinating in a midsummer mess of their own creation. What an epic failure of leadership, one that will deprive Trump of his cherished autumn fealty festivals at a packed football stadium.”

Nearly every part of this is untrue. Trump was earliest to block travel from China, held days of press conferences on the virus before Democrats were wise to the danger, and followed the science once the mortality rate fell.

Still, Forde is right that the NCAA and our university system is having a lot of trouble with the COVID-19 prevention plans.

The NCAA recently published a graphic showing what purports to be where the U.S. was with confirmed cases in late April in comparison to Europe, Canada, and Japan. The graph claimed to show that cases in America were going up as those in Canada, Japan and Europe went down or at least stayed flat. “This requires that schools contemplate a holistic strategy that includes testing to return to sports with a high contact risk,” the NCAA claimed.

From there, Forde exclaims, the NCAA crafted its coronavirus response plan, but even “crafted with the input of dozens of health experts, the two documents lay out parameters that make it difficult to envision a fall season being played without massive interruption. If it’s played at all,” he wrote.

Forde adds that the guidelines require regular tests of athletes and quarantines once discovered. But the rules also require testing of others who came in contact with that player. “The difficulty is defining individuals with a high risk of exposure, and in some cases, this could mean an entire team (or teams),” the policy statement says.

Forde then pointed out the difficulty with the whole scenario.

So, this is a potential scenario as the schedule currently stands: Ohio State plays at Michigan State Oct. 17. Afterward, a Buckeye who saw significant action in the game tests positive. The entire team could then be subject to missing the matchup the following week at Penn State, and the Spartans could be decimated for their game the following week against Indiana. And who knows about the week after that.

Forde is right that the plans are likely on shaky grounds.

But the columnist goes on to make more untrue assertions that he pins on the GOP.

“The positivity rate is climbing, and so is the death rate. The average death toll from July 8-15 was 726, highest it had been in a month after bottoming out at 471 earlier in July. Bad trend. Very bad trend,” he writes.

Even the CDC has recently noted that the mortality rate has fallen so low that it is below pandemic levels. Though the agency does insist that the numbers might come back up if the virus again takes hold.

It is likely that Forde is right that colleges do want football back. It is, after all, a huge money-maker for them.

Forde ends once again attacking Trump.

Perhaps football in the fall was always an impossible dream, but it seemed much more real in late May and early June, with America sacrificing and caseloads dropping. Then the shallow reservoir of Trumpian forbearance ran out, and people went back to doing whatever they wanted to do, gorging on “freedom.”

And now we’ll see whether some semblance of college football can still be played. If not, send the receipts for a lost season to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Blaming Donald Trump for a virus unleashed by China by using cherry-picked statistics is quite a feat.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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