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NFL QB Dismissive of COVID-19

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins drew the ire of many fans, media members, and other pundits on Wednesday with his remarks about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on a podcast.

In an interview with NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt for his “10 Questions” podcast, Cousins touched on the band, Creed, career moves from Washington to the Vikings, and COVID-19. The latter has drawn plenty of blowback, after Cousins said his feeling towards the pandemic is, “If I die, I die.”

Cousins, who is in the third year of a three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract with Minnesota, told Brandt, “I want to respect what other people’s concerns are. For me personally, just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it, I would say I’m gonna go about my daily life. If I get it, I’m gonna ride it out. I’m gonna let nature do its course. Survival-of-the-fittest kind of approach. 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.”

Unsurprisingly, Cousins’ comments have drawn plenty of remarks on social media. According to a search of simply his full name on Social Studio, there have been just over 30,000 social media comments since the interview’s release this morning. A word cloud also gives an idea of what is being said around the quarterback as well.

The driver of the growing trend for Cousins is ESPN, which has the highest influencer score, of 98. ESPN’s Brazil account, as well as its SportsCenter branded account also have the same score. ESPN has a story on its front page about Cousins and included discussion about the comments on its “First Take” morning show, as well as other shows across its various platforms.

But while ESPN’s pundits have widely had negative views towards Cousins’ remarks, Social Studio’s sentiment analysis reports 65.9 percent of posts have shown a positive sentiment towards the comments. Keep in mind, Social Studio does not account for sarcasm, slang, and other factors, but the score gives a general view of the comments on social media.

There have been a host of posts defending Cousins, as well as denouncing his remarks. Below are two such examples:

There is certainly plenty of divide about Cousins’ comments. But that has also been the case with much of the discussion about COVID-19 as a whole. Debates will continue to rage concerning how we should view the pandemic, how we should manage it as a country and society, and plenty of typical aspects of society impacted by the pandemic.

We’ll continue to monitor this and plenty more trends and report any new information using our tools within Social Studio.