Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley hasn’t been one to be very vocal about much. Since taking over for Bob Stoops, he’s been a generally boring sound byte who doesn’t give the media much beyond the standard cliches.
That has changed during the coronavirus pandemic, as the head coach told The Athletic earlier this month that players returning on June 1st is, “one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.”
Then, on Tuesday morning, Riley used some emojis to do a little post-Memorial Day mask-shamming with the following tweet in response to a doctor:
There was a ton of support for Riley in response, like this:
Thank you for being a great leader for OUr program and prioritizing the health and safety of your team and staff.— Perry 🧢 (@PtotheY93) May 26, 2020
Much respect. Boomer!
However, there were also folks who pushed back on Riley.
I live in a county with zero confirmed cases since this all began. I don’t wear a mask and it’s fairly stupid to say it’s because of my privilege. Love you coach but imo you’re wrong here.— JB (@soonermagik) May 26, 2020
Here’s the thing: Both those OU fans can be right. Someone who lives in a more urban setting who may have been directly impacted by the virus can feel one way, while someone in a rural county with no cases has every right to feel like this is being overblown.
The recent response to COVID-19 has generally been responded to based on your personal experience. Someone in New York City vs. someone is Woodward, Oklahoma, will have a very different experience with this virus (the latter will likely have no experience at all).
But what Riley has yet to do is share any type of statistical information beyond bluster and outrage.
Remember what Riley told The Athletic: “In my opinion, we need to bring them in as late as we possibly can before we play a season. Every day early that we bring them in is a day we could have gotten better. It’s a day we could’ve learned more about the virus. It’s a day PPE maybe gets better. It’s a day closer to a vaccine. It’s a day that our testing equipment and testing capabilities get better, and it’s just not worth it. So, we’ve got to be patient. We get one shot at this, and we’ve got to do it right.”
How much PPE inventory does Riley want? Can OU not get it? How much testing capacity does he want? Does he know we have 2-3x the testing capacity we had compared to a month ago? As for a vaccine, some believe we are close to it, but no one knows with any certainty when or even if we will get one. So what do we do in the meantime, coach? What date would you feel good about returning and based on what criteria?
As for his tweet on wearing a mask, he’s absolutely entitled to that opinion, but saying someone who may not wear a mask who lives in a more rural community and is in good health and interacts with those in good health (especially if they are under 65) is somehow showing their “privilege” is a ridiculous notion.
And once again, it’s not based in anything but bluster and noise.
So I guess for those of us wanting Riley to show more opinion and less coach speak, it looks like we got what we wanted, it’s just sure never what I envisioned it being like.
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