Let them play? Ron DeSantis looking for ‘rationality’ in NFL’s COVID-19 restrictions
Ron DeSantis. Image via AP.

DeSantis believes asymptomatic players should not necessarily be 'put out' for positive tests.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking for “rationality” in how the National Football League teams handle COVID-19 cases this season, suggesting “asymptomatic” people testing positive should still have an opportunity to play ball.

“I think we’ve learned now that these athletes, a lot of them even with fully vaccinated teams, are getting positive tests but they’re not getting seriously ill, so I think it’s going to be a really good season,” DeSantis said in Lakeland on Monday,

“I know they’re still going to have to probably do some of these protocols in the NFL,” he added. “But that should not deter them from doing very, very well. And I hope that there’ll be some rationality brought upon this.”

DeSantis explained: “If somebody has had COVID and is vaccinated, all of these different things, then I’d hate to see them put out just for getting some type of asymptomatic, positive test. So hopefully, they’ll have some rationality to that, and they’ll be full-strength every single day throughout the season.”

The NFL guidelines on when players who test positive for coronavirus can hit the field are somewhat nuanced.

If a player who is vaccinated tests positive but has no symptoms, he will be allowed to rejoin the team after two negative tests administered 24 hours apart. If a player is both vaccinated and symptomatic, he must test negative twice and exhibit no symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 48 hours.

Vaccinated players who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus are not required to isolate. They will, however, be required to submit to daily testing for five days.

The rules are less forgiving for unvaccinated players, who must isolate for at least 10 days after a positive test, even if they are asymptomatic. Unvaccinated players must isolate for at least five days if they have close contact with a COVID-positive individual, even if the player initially tests negative.

DeSantis then extolled the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their quarterback, Tom Brady. The Buccaneers are 100% vaccinated.

However, the universal vaccination threshold does not apply to the Miami Dolphins or the Jacksonville Jaguars. DeSantis did not clarify whether unvaccinated players should get to hit the field if they don’t have symptoms.

In Lakeland, he also offered some retroactive critiques of how the league handled COVID-19 restrictions last year.

“I’ll tell you, it would have been nice to have more people there than were in the stadium,” DeSantis groused of attendance being capped for the Buccaneers’ home-field Super Bowl win earlier this year.

“And what my view was is ‘Look, you say you can only have 25,000 people. But yet after the game, you’ve got 100,000 people, you know, just swarming the streets.’ What honest difference does that make at that point,” DeSantis hectored.

“So I wanted to have that for the Super Bowl last year,” DeSantis said, regarding full attendance. “But I’m glad they’re going to be able to do it this year.”

Indeed, DeSantis was bold in calling for full attendance at  Super Bowl LV.

“I fully understand, and we will work with them; they want to go slower more than anyone, so it’s not like they want to have full capacity,” DeSantis said in September 2020. “But I think you can do much more than what’s been done.”

The NFL, however, capped the attendance at 22,000 in February’s Super Bowl against DeSantis’ declared wishes.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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  • PeterH

    September 7, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Ron DeSantis is out of his lane when he advises on issues related to this pandemic. His advice contradicts science and that’s why Florida is the Covid capital of the USA. Why should Florida residents be encouraged to model the failed Covid policies of Texas, Alabama and Mississippi? Poor incompetent Florida leadership.

    • Dan B

      September 7, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      So even someone like you would probably agree that the Mayo Clinic is a good source of Covid info seeing as they have been publishing daily numbers along with Johns Hopkins and Stanford….So tell me obvious liberal why is it that the mortality rate in Florida is 40-50 percent lower than states like say MA (70+ percent vaccinated) or NY or CT or PA? Because folks like you only know how to follow a narrative you’re not smart enough to look at facts…Also tell me why the Oh so liberal Boston Globe front page lead, two days ago, was about how they are so far behind on promoting Monoclonal treatment…and tell me why the Miami Herald took down it’s center of front page graphs a few weeks ago..as soon as the graphs rolled over and showed that FL was peaking…and why is the heat graph of infections heading north just like last year. Ron Desantis has a brain unlike most liberals in this state.

      • S. Madiq

        September 7, 2021 at 1:10 pm

        The rate is lower because your dictator desantis is controlling how and what numbers are being released.
        It’s called Florida-duh for a reason.

      • PeterH

        September 7, 2021 at 1:16 pm


        Per capita in the latest surge disagrees with your assessment!

        …… and I’m a real authentic conservative…. Not a Trumpster con artist.

      • Alex

        September 7, 2021 at 4:52 pm

        Too bad Floriduuuuh is well ahead of liberal locked down California in deaths per 100K, and growing daily because our Trumpian idiot governor has his head up Mango Mussolini’s voluminous arse.

        168 per 100k in liberal Cal
        216 per 100k in idiot Floriduuuuhhhhhh (and growing fast)

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      • Sean Getty

        September 7, 2021 at 7:46 pm

        Easily explained by simple math, Florida has a large population and therefore 40k+ dead are a smaller percentage than other smaller states. Think about this for second, over 40k people dead many of which were avoidable. Why are you making a deadly virus about politics? Soldiers go fight wars to protect your freedom, you can’t take simple health measures to protect your fellow citizens? You refuse to believe science, will you safe care if you have a heart attack? These are legit questions I would ask people who continue to be a part of the problem and not the solution.

  • Frankie M.

    September 7, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Why is he worried about NFL protocols? Doesn’t he have a job to do? Or is he just positioning himself for a run at NFL commissioner after his current gig is up?

    Ronnie doesn’t get it because he doesn’t want to get it. His career depends on him not getting it because that is the role he has chosen. It’s not about you or the person who catches coco. It’s about everyone else around that person. It’s about us.

    • PeterH

      September 7, 2021 at 12:41 pm

      It’s embarrassing and quite unbelievable! This guy has a big mouth just like his mentor Donald Trump. Both deserve less than one term in office.

  • Mei Angry

    September 7, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Desantis is trump-lite hoping to become the next dictator of America.

    • Jerry

      September 7, 2021 at 7:06 pm

      A politician that is working hard to make sure you have choices and civil liberties is being called a dictator?

      Meanwhile what do you call the Democrats who are working hard to mandate healthcare choices and censor free speech on the internet?
      Look at the blue states…they are like prisons. Everything you do is controlled.

      • Sean Getty

        September 7, 2021 at 7:51 pm

        Refusing to do your part so that your fellow citizens don’t get sick and die is totally the patriot thing to do. Who gives a crap about people dying as long as you get to do whatever you want, listen to yourself.

      • PeterH

        September 7, 2021 at 8:23 pm

        Fun Facts:
        No one is mandating healthcare choices!
        No one is censoring free speech on the internet!
        Blue states are not prisons…. Nor have they ever been. NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN LOCKED DOWN ANYWHERE IN THE USA! You’ve always been able to take grandma to drugstore, shopping. Feel like taking a walk, going on a bike ride, drive in your car???? NO ONE STOPPED YOU!


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  • Cliff

    September 7, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    When did Ron DeathSantis become the NFL commissioner?

    Nobody should give AF about this morons opinion on anything anymore. He’s a proven disaster.

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    September 7, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    GO BUCS!!!!

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      September 7, 2021 at 7:44 pm

      Finally! ..we agree on something.

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