Athletes Have a Say Too


The Rams had the chance to win the conference but were forced to stop play because of Fordham’s rise in COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

This two week pause snuck up on us quietly. Last semester, Fordham did pretty well, and that was at the time when the pandemic was very uncertain and no one knew what traveling back to college would bring. Here we are, back in the second half of the school year, not even three weeks into being back on campus, and we have already hit our stopping point. 

It would be wrong to say that athletes are not included in the current COVID-19 case number (135 as of Feb. 15). But in seeing what this pause will do to the overall climate on campus, a lot of athletes feel as if their time on campus is being affected the most.

It has been about 464 days since women’s soccer has been able to play a game. After multiple setbacks and hard practice time, the women were able to compete last Tuesday against the Sacred Heart Pioneers. With the game resulting in a draw, the women were excited to be able to build from where they started. With one game down, they expected to work hard to be able to compete again in the days that were to come. 

Women’s basketball is a similar story. We have seen both the men and women’s teams being put on hold and in quarantine multiple times so far throughout the winter. In a recent tweet, Barstool Fordham had this to say: “Athletes are the only people impacted by this and they get tested weekly…@FordhamWBB has a chance to win the conference but now can’t play/practice until right before the A10s. Interesting to say the least when the rest of the student body isn’t remotely affected by this.” 

This comment received a lot of responses from both athletes and students alike who had many different opinions to share. 

Junior goalkeeper Maggie Grossman had a lot to say about this controversial comment. She says, “In terms of the barstool post, I don’t agree that only athletes are affected, but we are affected in such a uniquely terrible way that is hard for any non-athlete to understand.”

Grossman is a pre-med student and works on campus, hoping to gain some knowledge on the field that she plans to go into. Grossman believes that this aspect of her life is also greatly affected. Being an athlete is not the only aspect of her life. “I am looking to go to medical school, and my graduation may be delayed due to COVID as well. That sucks, but losing my sport hurts in a different way,” she said.

“It seems stereotypical to say but the whole student-athlete ‘grind’ everyone jokes about is no real joke. I am putting my body on the line for 3-4 hours a day for my sport to try to help my team win a championship. We sign a contract that gives the NCAA our lives for 4 years, but that’s all we get. It’s a different type of heartbreak when you train for 3 hours a day for over 400 days, have 0 positive cases on your team and have it cancelled while indoor dining is still allowed and bars are still open. At the end of the day, I feel like my outdoor sport isn’t increasing COVID cases.” 

On the other side of the aisle, there are many non-student athletes who feel oppositely about the situation. Senior Camden Thorngate had expressed her opinion online through a popular student run meme account. When asked how she felt about the Barstool Fordham comment, Thorngate said, “I was really frustrated when I saw a tweet from Barstool Fordham that basically said that only student athletes would be negatively impacted by Fordham pausing in-person activities for the next two weeks. I was even more disappointed to see many student athletes liking and retweeting it. The idea that only athletes are being impacted right now is so untrue, and it completely minimizes the experiences of the rest of the student body. There are countless clubs and student groups that are having to scramble right now to move in-person activities online. Not to mention people whose work studies or research projects are being interrupted.” 

In speaking on her experience as a senior, Thorngate said this, “I’m a senior, and this week I had to call my parents and tell them that they can’t come watch me graduate. The entire Fordham community is feeling the effects of this outbreak. Student athletes should be setting an example for others and helping to build community, and it’s disheartening that many seem to prioritize their own interests over the rest of the student body.” 

Each of these perspectives have been given support by both student athletes and non-student athletes. Either way, a two week lockdown was something that no one was expecting.