The NFL has been slammed for allowing a questionable game to go ahead with a star of the league testing positive only a day later.
The NFL has been slammed for allowing a questionable game to go ahead with a star of the league testing positive only a day later.

$721m star’s nightmare ‘mental lapse’

The NFL has been smashed from pillar to post over their handling of one star-studded contest from week 4.

A game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs looked like it was in jeopardy after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive in the build up to the game.

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But it was in the aftermath to the game where serious questions were raised when Kansas megastar and face of the league Patrick Mahomes got up close to Patriots defensive star Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19 having played every snap of the contest

The Patriots were forced to cancel a scheduled Thursday workout after news of the positive test came to light.

"It was a little bit of a mental lapse," Mahomes said Thursday of hugging Gilmore.

"You just have to trust in the protocols and the process in place.

"Obviously knowing that I went up to him after the game and gave him a high-five, like I have all my career and not thinking about it - it was a mental lapse, just sportsmanship. But I think the protocols are good, wearing my mask and staying safe."

Mahomes and his long-time partner Brittany Matthews recently announced the news they were expecting their first child, but Mahomes said he had taken the extra steps to sleep in a different bedroom to Matthews after finding out last week that a Chiefs practice squad player had tested positive for COVID-19.

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Mahomes and his teammates have continued to test negative in the wake of their 26-10 win over the Patriots. The median incubation period for COVID-19 is four to five days from exposure to symptoms.

The NFL faced a barrage of backlash after allowing the contest to go ahead with the anger reaching greater heights following Gilmore's positive test.

The NFL is dealing with an ongoing crisis of positive test with the Tennessee Titans still in lockdown with 13 players on the COVID-19 reserve list.

As of right now the Patriots' week 5 game against the Denver Broncos is scheduled to go ahead on Monday.

"It's critically important we do not grow complacent in our rigorous application of measures proven to be impactful," said NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills.

"Risk mitigation, not elimination, is the key. Our protocols are designed to quickly identify new cases, get individuals the care they need, and prevent further spread of the virus."

Tennessee, which already had a game against Pittsburgh postponed to October 25 after an outbreak last week, has a 3-0 record and a home game scheduled Sunday against Buffalo (4-0).

But the Titans haven't worked out in more than a week and were denied the chance Thursday by the latest virus positives after thinking they would return to their facility following two days without a positive result.

Other teams could see their schedules altered depending on what the NFL decides.

The NFL instituted tighter virus protocols this week after the Titans produced the first major outbreak of the season, now one-quarter complete.

"We're fighting an uphill battle," Bills coach Sean McDermott said. "The league took the right steps to increase the protocols. It's necessary because it's only going to get more difficult."

- with AFP

Originally published as $721m star's nightmare 'mental lapse'


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