UPDATE: The NFL offered this statement about Bryant hugging Cowboys personnel.
NFL on Bryant hugging Cowboys personnel: "Standard protocol is to examine the device of the infected person for duration of time and proximity. Other factors include whether the interaction was indoors or outdoors. It was determined that there were no high-risk close contacts."— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) December 9, 2020
The NFL is dealing with a mess on Tuesday evening as the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens close out the Week 13 schedule. Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant was scratched less than 30 minutes before kickoff after testing positive for Covid-19. The game continued, but there are numerous questions in light of the decision to go ahead with the game.
Per numerous reports, Bryant had a Tuesday morning test that came back inconclusive initially and again after a re-check. Whomever is in charge of this process seemed to give Bryant the impression things would be fine. Bryant went to the stadium for pre-game warmups before being pulled from the field.
Following the news, NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero said no positive tests and no identifiable high-risk close contacts meant the game was a go.
All other #Ravens players tested negative for COVID-19 and no high-risk close contacts were identified, source said. So, no Dez Bryant, but game on as scheduled and no other players impacted.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 9, 2020
However, Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink had tweeted this two hours before the game. Bryant was facing his former team and as one would expect, he interacted with his former teammates, coaches, and staff. Mink noted Dez hugging various personnel during warmups. Mink later deleted this tweet.
The NFL has previously defined a close contact as “being within six feet of someone for about 15 minutes, or direct physical contact during practices, games or team travel, or living in the same household, or handling uniforms, equipment or a shared object.”
I’m sure the definition can be maneuvered as needed, but hugging people before a game would seem to be a significant issue. The NFL would seem to disagree, but in the next week it will be worth tracking if the Cowboys or Ravens deal with any kind of outbreak.