N’Golo Kante is being allowed to miss some training due to Covid-19 fears. For Chelsea and the league, that should put things into perspective.
The Premier League was always going to try to return. When other leagues were cancelling their remaining fixtures, the Premier League was gearing up to be the only game in town. With Bundesliga returning, the Premier League was surely going to accelerate their plans so as not to be left behind.
Of course, that ignores the reality of the Covid-19 situation. The curve may be flatter, but it sure is not flat. The Premier League pushed on nonetheless because time is money. The players, overall, have had little to no say about it.
But then there are players like Troy Deeney who do not want to train. There are others, like Sergio Aguero and Tammy Abraham, who have voiced their concerns about returning. And now N’Golo Kante is adding himself to the list of those taking action. That should very much put this situation into perspective not only for Chelsea, but the Premier League as a whole.
Kante is surely the biggest name to ask for time away. When a World Cup winning a world class player on a squad takes a stand, people tend to sit up and listen. But it should not just be his credentials that matter. Deeney’s stand is just as valid and important.
Players are, at the end of the day, employees. But that does not mean they should not have a say into whether or not they return or not when the environment is not safe. Their wages or prestige should not factor into this equation.
Kante’s fears are like those of many others; he fears infecting his family. It only takes one exposure to cause many, many people to become infected. And once it starts, it is very hard to stop.
The Premier League and Chelsea are taking precautions of course, but that does not mean that the precautions are enough. Callum Hudson-Odoi has already had Covid-19, but he also missed training (allegedly only due to an illness). If he did have the disease again, it is already too late for the people he has been around to avoid exposure. That also means it is too late for their families to avoid it as well.
The Bundesliga had players test positive before their return. They delayed slightly and then barreled on ahead. The Premier League has had positive cases and appears to be moving forward. And while it is understandable that many miss football and having any at all back has been nice, it is also hard to separate it from the dangers involved. Is it worth it to move forward without really knowing how things are currently going?
The leagues are saying yes. Players like Deeney and Kante are saying no as others like Aguero and Abraham are training while saying it is a bad idea. The players are going to be the last rung on every decision making process. They are trying to make their voices heard. A return should be seen through that perspective.