While Auburn football players have been back on campus for awhile now, the students are just now back on campus for the start of the semester.
Auburn football players have been turning to Twitter and other platforms to ask their fellow students to remain responsible and to take the ongoing pandemic seriously.
Auburn University started class Aug. 17 and pictures have surfaced on social media showing downtown bars and large groups of people gathering. Players including wide receiver Anthony Schwartz and offensive linemen Kameron Stutts have expressed their concern on Twitter with the crowded venues and lack of masks.
“Us being on the football team we’re having to take extra precautions,” Bo Nix said Tuesday during a Zoom call. “We’re having to do things a little differently from other students. That’s just the nature of it. I think we’re in a good safe spot over here and we’re doing a good job social distancing and staying out of other people’s way.”
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Over the summer, Auburn football had 34 positive cases of COVID-19. The team was tested again last week, before the start of fall training camp, and received zero positive tests.
This pandemic started hitting close to home with that reality shock for the Tigers. Senior linebacker K.J. Britt said after several positive tests over the summer the team had meetings to talk about the accountability to each other and the team as a whole. He said it was a learning experience for everyone.
“Accountability is something that every team that’s going to be successful is going to have to have, especially during the pandemic,” Britt said. “There is so much at risk. That’s what we told the team. It’s too much at risk for you to not be accountable to your brother. Since we’ve had that talk we haven’t had one [positive] test and that was over a few weeks ago. I believe that explains the brotherhood we have here and the love for one another.
Britt was also open about COVID-19 affecting his family. Britt’s mother was diagnosed with the virus in March and was hospitalized for days, with Britt saying it's still scary to think about to this day.
That accountability continued to ring true as this changed the whole perspective of the pandemic for Britt along with others across the nation.
"It don't hit home until it actually hits home, and by the time it hits home, it's too late," Britt said.
With students back on campus, Britt made his plea to students to be responsible and safe while back in Auburn.
“It’s a pandemic,” Britt said. “Just talking to people who don’t play sports, it’s really simple, just put your mask on. Just take the precautionary things you have to do, put your mask on, wash your hands...sanitize and Lysol. Whatever the CDC is saying to do to help prevent [COVID-19] that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Overall, Auburn football is doing its part in taking the right steps to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in hopes of starting their season. Auburn's official schedule for the 2020 season was announced Monday along with the start of their fall camp.
“It’s going to be hard for everyone to continue to be absolutely perfect with how they’re doing this, how they’re out and about in town and things like that,” Nix said. “I think the only thing we can do as players is do our job and hope that the SEC and NCAA, when they start making decisions, they’ll make it in our best interest.”
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