Kirk Cousins clarifies COVID-19 comments: Vikings QB doesn’t have ‘personal fear’ of virus

After comments he made on the coronavirus pandemic generated widespread criticism, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins clarified his stance but reiterated he's not concerned about contracting the virus.

During a news conference Wednesday that was pushed up to address the podcast interview, Cousins said the comments he made were only about his personal level of concern related to the pandemic that has continued to spread throughout the globe.

"Admittedly, I did not use the best wording and certainly could’ve articulated it better," Cousins said. "But the heart behind it is no different than it is today.

"Admittedly, I probably wasn't as clear as I would've liked to have been," Cousins added. "But what I wanted to say then and what I would echo again now is that while the virus does not give me a great amount of personal fear, there's still great reason for me to engage in wearing a mask and social distancing and washing my hands as frequently as I can and following protocols set in place, obviously to be considerate and respectful of other people."

He added that it was also important "to be available for all 16 games this fall" but that there were "plenty of reasons to wear a mask, social distance and be very diligent to help stop the spread of the virus."

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts as he walks to the sidelines during the second quarter of a NFC wild-card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)

Earlier on Wednesday, Spotify released an episode of the "10 Questions" podcast that included a previously recorded interview in which Cousins shared his thoughts on the novel coronavirus. Cousins said that interview took place about a month ago, but it drew criticism from people who thought he was dismissing the severity of the pandemic .

"If I die, I die," Cousins said on the episode. "I kind of have peace about that." 

Podcast host Kyle Brandt then asked Cousins: "On that spectrum, if 1 is the person who says, ‘Masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings,’ and 10 is, ‘I’m not leaving my master bathroom for the next 10 years,’ where do you land?" 

Cousins replied: "I’m not gonna call anybody stupid, for the trouble it would get me in, but I’m about a .000001." 

In his news conference later in the day, Cousins did not back away from the concept behind the comment but added more context.

"I have peace," Cousins said later. "I don't believe that I control the outcome of my life. There's many things out of my control, but obviously my faith is at the foundation of my life, and I trust the Lord to handle things. If something happens, I trust him to have a plan and a purpose, even to use a pain, a setback, an adversity – to use that to help grow me and teach me more about Him."

According to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, COVID-19 has infected more than 25.8 million people and has killed more than 858,000 globally. The United States has the most infections (more than 6 million confirmed cases) and deaths (almost 185,000) of any country, as of Wednesday afternoon.

"I just don't have a great deal of personal fear surrounding contracting the virus," Cousins said in the news conference. "And, again, that's unique to my circumstances, unique to my situation, factors that are unique to me and would be extremely different to any number of people."

Cousins, 32, is entering his ninth season in the NFL and his third with the Vikings.

The NFL, which has thus far employed daily testing for players, had just four positive player tests out of 23,279 from Aug. 21-29, the league said Tuesday.

As of Tuesday evening, there were just five players currently on the league's reserve/COVID-19 list, which is intended for those who either test positive for the virus or come into close contact with someone who has been affected.

Contributing: Chris Bumbaca

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