Kusnierek: Shaming Gilmore and Newton is simply not right


Shame, shame, shame.

It was an iconic scene in "Game of Thrones." Cersei Lannister is forced to walk naked through the streets of King's Landing as the community surrounds her, chanting “shame, shame” for her misdeeds. 

The shame train may not be as medieval in Boston, but Covid-19 finger wagging is in full effect.

It has been seven days since news broke that Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the coronavirus. We don’t know how the cornerback contracted the virus; nor do we know the source of the other three positive tests in Foxboro. 

But Gilmore is taking the brunt of the beating because he reportedly had dinner with Cam Newton on Friday, October 3rd -- despite the fact that his wife took to Twitter to dispute that the meal even took place.

Any way you shake it, I think this speaks to a larger issue at hand.

Whether you play in the NFL or work from home, I feel like everyone is afraid to tell certain people they engaged in “risky” behavior. I feel like every time I’m asked if I’ve done something like run in a group or eaten indoors at a restaurant, I feel the need to talk in circles trying to make myself not look like an a**hole, even though I know I’m not doing anything wrong. 

It is one thing to brazenly hold a packed, mask-less fundraiser (looking at you, Raiders). It is completely different to have dinner with your friend/teammate when NFL players are receiving daily testing.

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Asking these guys to sit at home every night for seven months is ridiculous. The guidance says to keep a social bubble. Raise your hand if you would go to dinner with your favorite co-worker/friend who also gets tested for Covid EVERY DAY. (99.9% would do it. You know you would.) 

And yes, I’m aware that testing isn’t bulletproof. But can we all agree that humans need actual connection with others and most of us are doing the best we can in trying to stay sane AND healthy?

For the most part, these guys are being more cautious than the average person. 

Which is a long way of saying, if Gilmore or Newton were afraid to disclose a dinner, I understand their hesitation. So it needs to be stressed that players will not get punished for behavior that isn’t egregious. 

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Both Patriots had taken the requisite tests that morning. Neither had tested positive to that point. It wasn’t until Saturday, October 4th that Newton found out he was infected with Covid-19 and then, as we all know, the domino effect led to games being pushed back for two straight weeks.

Now, we can certainly take Gilmore to task if he did not alert the team of his dinner with Newton after discovering the QB’s positive test. It is all of our responsibility to protect each other against a virus that has now killed more than 200,000 Americans. Non-disclosure is the same as lying and should come with some form of discipline to keep it from happening again. 

But, as of right now, we don’t know if Gilmore was forthright with the Patriots. What we do know is that #DinnerGate has taken over the airwaves. 

Shame, shame.

Silence, silence.

Unnecessary risk. 

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