Game On…with Rob Kriete! – JANUARY 5

I hope the holiday season for all was restful, fun, and, most of all, Omicron-free! Unfortunately, we have a new wildfire to worry about with many folks traveling this year after a Covid-conscious 2020 holiday season. But, don’t worry, Kyrie is coming back.

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets is rejoining his team in a part-time role after refusing to be vaccinated. Irving will play for the Nets when they don’t suit up in Brooklyn (or against the Knicks across the river) but will get some significant minutes when they travel to cities without a vaccination mandate. The irony of this situation is that those inoculated can also contract the Omicron version of Covid. Of course, those vaccinated experience very moderate symptoms, if at all. Perhaps Kyrie can play in away games and avoid the most contagious iteration of this thing, or maybe he won’t. But he is back.

The NHL is back to the ice, as well, after taking a break from their schedule due to Covid. NFL teams, meanwhile, are seemingly playing the shell game each week to navigate Covid cases on top of accumulated injuries in a now 17 game schedule.

So after almost two years of the circus known as Covid, what is the answer for professional sports teams?

I suggest more players. During a pandemic, professional leagues should increase the number of players allowed on each team’s roster to help. Indeed, more players would mean more opportunities for transmission, so logical protocols must be maintained. MLB did it for the 2020 season and allowed teams to plan and prepare better.

Even as I write this column, another NFL quarterback has tested positive. Yet, having extra players fill in for these missed games allows professional teams to compete each week.

What else would you suggest professional leagues do?

Be safe, everyone!