Matthew Stafford’s False-Positive COVID-19 Test May Prompt NFL Rule Change

Logan Lamorandier

Just about everyone has heard by now that Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was initially placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list before ultimately being removed after it was revealed the test was a false-positive result. 

Last week when the players began reporting to Allen Park, three COVID-19 tests were administered over the course of four days. 

Stafford had passed the Tuesday and Wednesday tests, with his Friday one coming back as a positive -- which put him in the COVID-19 return protocol. 

After the positive test finding, Stafford had multiple tests administered, which all came back negative. 

It was pretty easy to see that there was an outlier in the mix. 

Knowing that there is always the possibility of an inaccurate reading, can exceptions be made when all the signs point to a test being a false-positive?

Hypothetically speaking, if this faulty test transpired during the season, it would have resulted in the Lions’ starting signal-caller missing a game. Obviously, not an ideal scenario. 

With the Lions' history of bad luck, it wouldn’t be surprising if something like this would happen.

Fortunately, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated's The MMQB, Stafford’s false-positive result could induce an addendum to the NFL’s COVID-19 policies.

There are still some details to work out, but Breer states, “the NFL and NFLPA are discussing adjusted protocols for players who have persistently tested negative, and have a single positive, followed by more negative tests.”

Now, the NFL needs to continue to remain cautious and make sure they are doing everything to protect its players. 

There is no easy or completely infallible solution, which is what makes this whole situation so difficult. 

However, there should be some sort of safeguard in place to help identify when a test is likely incorrect and to put the player on a fast-track to getting back to the active roster. 

Hopefully, the NFL and NFLPA can resolve this dilemma soon. 

At the very least, it’s promising that they are aware and want to try to find a remedy before the season commences.

To read Breer's entire column, click here. 


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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Absolutely the NFL needs to make sure players who miss games are really
positive or a threat! If a false positive keeps a player out, the league
is a sham