Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is clarifying comments he made about the coronavirus, emphasizing that while he still does not personally feel particularly fearful about contracting COVID-19, he understands the importance of wearing a mask for the safety of others.
Cousins, 32, drew criticism for his seemingly dismissive take on the deadly virus during a recent podcast, in which he said that, considering his personal circumstances, he wasn’t afraid of catching it, and would continue to live his life as normal.
“If I get it, I’m gonna ride it out. I’m gonna let nature do its course. Survival-of-the-fittest kind of an approach,” he said on Wednesday’s episode of Spotify’s 10 Questions podcast. “And just say, if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that.”
He did, however, say that he wears a mask so as to be “respectful to other people.”
Still, the comments raised eyebrows on social media, and on a call with reporters hours later, Cousins clarified his stance, according to the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated.
Cousins reportedly cited his Christian faith as the reason as to why he felt so at peace with whatever life would bring him, and also said that all of his opinions on the virus pertained to him and him alone.
“What I was trying to say back then, admittedly, I probably wasn’t as clear as I would have liked to have been,” he said. “I was addressing my own personal perspective. Everybody’s different. That’s what I was trying to say. There are many risk factors and other factors that will affect one’s approach. I have family and friends who take a very different approach because of risk factors. That’s unique to my circumstances, unique to my situation. Lot of factors that are unique to me and would be extremely unique to any number of other people.”
The athlete also doubled down on his reasons for wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, explaining that it’s necessary to adhere to protocols to protect others who may be at a higher risk than him. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that people ages 65 and older are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, as are people with underlying medical conditions, including heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease and chronic kidney disease.
As for his comments regarding his sense of peace, Cousins noted that he does not believe he has control over the outcome of his life, but that he trusts his God to “have a plan and a purpose” for him.
"The heart behind it was just saying that I have peace if that were to happen, was all I was wanting to say," Cousins explained.
The NFL’s regular season is expected to kick off on Thursday, Sept. 10 with the Houston Texans playing the Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The schedule features 17 weeks of 256 regular-season games before Super Bowl LV, which is slated to take place in Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.
As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 6.1 million cases and 185,963 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to The New York Times.
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