Eliah Drinkwitz apologizes after slamming ESPN analyst over fears coronavirus will cancel season

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the sports world to a standstill in recent weeks.

Nearly every sporting event in the country, and the rest of the world, has been canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]” data-reactid=”27″ type=”text”>[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

2020 Olympics, which were scheduled to start on July 24 in Tokyo, were pushed back a year due to the crisis.” data-reactid=”28″ type=”text”>Even the 2020 Olympics, which were scheduled to start on July 24 in Tokyo, were pushed back a year due to the crisis.

The New York Times — it’s only fair to question what sports will look like this fall. The NFL and college football seasons could very well be severely impacted if not canceled all together. ” data-reactid=”29″ type=”text”>With no cure available and the number of coronavirus cases still on the rise — there were nearly 210,000 confirmed cases in the United States alone as of Wednesday night, the most in the world, according to The New York Times — it’s only fair to question what sports will look like this fall. The NFL and college football seasons could very well be severely impacted if not canceled all together. 

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said last week. “I’ll be so surprised if that happens. Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

Herbstreit’s comments, however, didn’t sit well with newly hired Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz.

Drinkwitz slams Herbstreit

Drinkwitz, who was hired to lead the Tigers in December after a stint at Appalachian State, didn’t like Herbstreit’s comments about the possibility of the coronavirus forcing the cancellation of the upcoming season.

“No offense to Mr. Herbstreit, but deciding who’s going to win a football game on College GameDay is a lot different than getting the world in a panic about whether or not we’re going to play a college football season,”  Drinkwitz said Wednesday, via the Columbia Daily Tribune. “And I’m not going to get into that.”

Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor slammed Herbstreit on Monday, too.” data-reactid=”37″ type=”text”>Drinkwitz isn’t alone in his thoughts, either. Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor slammed Herbstreit on Monday, too.

said, in part. “But I’m not ready to go there yet.” ” data-reactid=”38″ type=”text”>“I appreciate Kirk becoming a medical doctor and telling us what we should or shouldn’t do,” Taylor said, in part. “But I’m not ready to go there yet.” 

college football officials, athletic directors and head coaches across the country are looking into now. It’s certainly not a fun topic to discuss — everyone wants the college season to go on as scheduled — but there needs to be a plan or plans in place ahead of time amid a crisis that has infected nearly 900,000 people and killed at least 44,000 people across the globe.” data-reactid=”39″ type=”text”>Herbstreit’s opinion is a totally valid one, and raises a concern that college football officials, athletic directors and head coaches across the country are looking into now. It’s certainly not a fun topic to discuss — everyone wants the college season to go on as scheduled — but there needs to be a plan or plans in place ahead of time amid a crisis that has infected nearly 900,000 people and killed at least 44,000 people across the globe.

Not having that conversation now would be irresponsible to everyone involved.

Drinkwitz quickly apologizes

Just hours later, Drinkwitz appeared on “The Paul Finebaum Show” and apologized for his comments.

“I didn’t not mean anything toward Mr. Herbstreit or his opinion or even to take a shot at him. That was not my intention or point,” Drinkwitz said. “I hope that he would accept my apology because I know that that kind of made the headline. My point was not to do that.”

Instead, Drinkwitz said that his point was that people should simply be focused on what’s happening now rather than what’s down the road months from now. 

“For me to forecast anything in the future, I think it’s a lot of wasted energy and effort, in my opinion,” Drinkwitz said, via the Columbia Daily Tribune. “I think what it does is it gets people concerned about things that aren’t relevant for right now. What’s relevant for right now for us is to be taking care of our families, to maintain proper social distancing, and to adhere to the rules and standards that our administration, our president and our governor have put in place. That’s my focus.”

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