The first known case of coronavirus within the National Football League has turned up as of Thursday.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has reportedly tested positive for the virus, formally known as COVID-19.
Reportedly, the positive test came after the Saints coach became ill following his trip to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel Stakes.
Sean Payton positive for COVID-19 after Rebel Stakes trip
A report of Sean Payton having a positive test for COVID-19 arrived from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. However, Payton chose to come forward and make his diagnosis known when he could have remained anonymous about it.
He said he decided to reveal the news because he “wants all people to heed the warnings of government officials, stay inside, and behave responsibly,” per ESPN.
In another tweet, Schefter provided comments from the 56-year-old coach regarding how everyone can play a part in mitigating the effects of the pandemic.
“If people understand the curve & understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it. Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact,” Payton told ESPN per Schefter’s tweet.
The New Orleans Saints’ head coach reportedly had a trip this past weekend to attend the Rebel Stakes, a horse race held in Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
During the event, Payton appeared in an interview for TVG and spoke about the effects coronavirus might have on free agency and the NFL Draft.
New Orleans Saints football coach Sean Payton says he has tested positive for COVID-19. He said he began to feel ill the day after he attended the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and was interviewed on TVG. https://t.co/XKqbciVfji https://t.co/yRZ4mKmuRJ
— Ray Paulick (@raypaulick) March 19, 2020
The Saints’ coach was feeling ill on Sunday (Mar. 15). Reportedly, Payton had the test for coronavirus on Monday (Mar. 16), after he’d returned from his trip.
Payton updates fans on his condition
Louisiana has been amongst the states with a large number of cases of COVID-19. However, the New Orleans Saints head coach indicated he was “fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects some have,” ESPN reported.
It should make fans happy to know that Sean Payton has said he’s feeling better and lacks the respiratory systems that have affected some individuals with COVID-19.
Payton took to his Twitter account on Thursday as the news broke and posted an image with him and his dog, both appearing to be in good spirits.
The Saints coach also thanked everyone for their well-wishes, mentioned he has to stay in his home for just four more days, and ended his tweet with “#BEATCovid.”
— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) March 19, 2020
As of this report, there have been no reports of NFL players testing positive for coronavirus. However, at least seven NBA players have had positive tests.
They include Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz as well as Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant. Three other Brooklyn Nets’ players also tested positive but are unidentified.