Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is being savaged by sports reporters after he offered his honest opinion about wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During a recent appearance on the podcast “10 Questions With Kyle Brandt,” the former Michigan State Spartan was asked what he thought about wearing masks.
Cousins was asked: “On that spectrum, if one is a person who says, ‘Masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings,’ and 10 is, ‘I’m not leaving my master bathroom for 10 years,’ where do you land?”
The NFL star, who is also a devout Christian, responded honestly.
“I’m not going to call anybody stupid for the trouble it could get me in, but I’m about a 0.000001,” Cousins said on the podcast episode, which was released Wednesday.
Cousins added: “I want to respect what other people’s concerns are, but for me personally, if you’re just talking, ‘No one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it?’ I would say I’m going to go about my daily life.
“If I get it, I’m going to ride it out. I’m going to let nature do its course. Survival of the fittest kind of an approach and just say if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. Even if I die — if I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that,” he said.
“That’s really where I fall on it, so my opinion on wearing a mask is really about being respectful to other people. It really has nothing to do with my own personal thoughts,” he concluded.
— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) September 2, 2020
The response seemed simple enough; Kirk Cousins wears a mask as a courtesy to others, although he doesn’t personally believe it’ll do him a whole lot of good.
There’s no controversy in that, right?
Cousins has become public enemy number one to some sports reporters, and his life and career are now on trial online.
USA Today football reporter Doug Farrar penned an article headlined, “Kirk Cousins’ ridiculous take on COVID is why we can’t have nice things.”
Farrar wrote that Cousins is among those pro athletes who “have an interesting tendency to believe in their own invincibility,” adding that the Vikings quarterback “has some really unfortunate opinions about the coronavirus.”
The USA Today reporter further lamented that he can’t force other people to think like he does, and even suggested that Cousins is a man who lacks “empathy.”
In its own takedown of Cousins, the sports blog SB Nation concluded: “Unfortunately, there are still too many people who think social distancing or wearing a mask is a great affront to their personal liberty.”
“Cousins’ remarks are only going to embolden people who already don’t like wearing masks. Ultimately, Cousins is twisting himself into a knot to say that he personally doesn’t think wearing masks is worth it but he’ll do it keep other people comfortable,” writer Ricky O’Donnell added.
O’Donnell dug through the quarterback’s social media history to insult his cooking, and also concluded Cousins’ opinions are “dangerous” and “harmful to the public.”
Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur, meanwhile, unleashed on the 32-year-old too:
“Kirk Cousins is every idiot whose father couldn’t access emotions and who has therefore decided that toughness and blustery faux-bravery is the route, always, and has also missed the part about this being a *communicable* disease,” Arthur tweeted.
Kirk Cousins is every idiot whose father couldn’t access emotions and who has therefore decided that toughness and blustery faux-bravery is the route, always, and has also missed the part about this being a *communicable* disease https://t.co/YooZ70vjQ7
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) September 2, 2020
The quarterback’s mask comments went straight over the head of CBS Sports reporter Seth Davis:
Someone should tell Kirk Cousins that even if he isn’t afraid of getting Covid, he has a much higher chance of giving it to someone else if he’s not wearing a mask. Very frustrating that this message still is not getting through. It’s why we are where we are.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) September 2, 2020
Others used Cousins’ mask comments to attack his football skills:
Kirk Cousins is anti mask. The guy responsible for making split second decisions can’t think straight. Man, I miss Teddy Bridgewater.
— Jim Souhan (@SouhanStrib) September 2, 2020
I would say Kirk Cousins should stick to being Quarterback but be probably shouldn’t do that either https://t.co/LyjBf4lwzn
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) September 2, 2020
Reminder that Kirk Cousins has been a mediocre QB (and equally bad on camera) since his MSU days. Nonetheless he has gotten very rich being bad at football, while Colin Kaepernick still isn’t playing in the NFL. https://t.co/mkowGZfjQL
— CHRiZ ?? (@singwithCB) September 2, 2020
Of course the quarterback also had his defenders, who pointed out the buried lede — which is that the Vikings slinger still wears a mask because he takes other people’s concerns into account:
a.) did his own risk assessment
b.) chooses to live his life
c.) accepts the consequences
d.) is respectful and accommodating to others’ concerns.
Perfect. And for that he is largely mocked by sports media. https://t.co/KhQEvT9Egw
— Will Cain (@willcain) September 2, 2020
Certain people are leaving out part the comments from Kirk Cousins about masks.
Here is the entire thing. Especially the last line.
“So my opinion on mask wearing is really about being respectful to other people”
Like yall gonna crucify him for nothing? I’m over y’all. pic.twitter.com/ju6D1Wqbrm
— Dominique Clare (@DomClare) September 2, 2020
Don’t let headlines fool you.
Kirk Cousins disagrees w/ wearing a mask, but he still does it selflessly out of respect for other people.
The world would be far better off if we all operated with selfless concern EVEN when we disagree.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) September 2, 2020
The establishment sports media as a whole missed out on a potentially great PSA opportunity here.
“NFL QB wears a mask for others, even though he doesn’t want to” would have been a great headline for the story, assuming mainstream outlets were interested in anything other than tearing someone down.
Cousins, who is the second-most-accurate quarterback in NFL history behind only Drew Brees, seemingly broke the cardinal rule for public figures amid the dual pandemics of the coronavirus and groupthink.
He thought for himself, and dared to share those dissenting thoughts with the public.
And for that, he was canceled.
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