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Of Course Eating Together, Not Tackling, Spread COVID-19 Among NFL Players

Plus, Einstein Bros. is calling donuts “party bagels,” and more news to start your day

Denver Broncos v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Players eating together is the common thread among COVID-19 outbreaks in football

We may still be learning about COVID-19, but if there’s one thing that’s been relatively established, it’s that prolonged social activities which require the removal of masks in close contact or indoors, so that all your personal aerosols are hanging in the air, are not good. Unfortunately, eating and drinking fall into that category.

College football and NFL teams have been facing clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks. According to the Wall Street Journal, outbreaks on the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots, and at Notre Dame, were amazingly not caused by actually playing football. Huffing and puffing and running your bodies into each other on the football field is not a that big of a problem, because they’re usually playing outdoors, and the close contact of a tackle is relatively quick. Instead it was caused by teammates, or entire teams, eating together unmasked and indoors.

For example, New England Patriot Cam Newtown tested positive, and then a few days later Stephon Gilmore tested positive. “It turned out Newton and Gilmore had dinner together on the same day Newton took the test that would later come back positive,” wrote WSJ. At Notre Dame, when 25 players tested positive in September, “coach Brian Kelly said afterward that the outbreak occurred when the team skirted its own rules and held a large pregame meal together before playing the University of South Florida on Sept. 19.”

C’mon people, we’ve been at this for months. We know this! Don’t have huge meals together!

And in other news...

  • Einstein Bros. is introducing something called a “party bagel,” which is just a donut, and also a travesty. [FBN]
  • All sorts of foods are facing shortages again, including Spam, canned soup, and baking supplies. [The Takeout]
  • Kimchi might also be in short supply, after typhoons in South Korea ruined cabbage crops. [Bloomberg]
  • Burger King is launching reusable packaging, made to be returned to Burger King. [CNN]
  • Cracker Barrel, White Castle, and Golden Corral are filing lawsuits against poultry processors, including Tyson Foods, for engaging in bid-rigging. [FBN]
  • Wendy’s released a new fried chicken sandwich. [CNN]
  • Former Blue Bell CEO faces charges tied to allegedly covering up listeria contamination. [CNN]
  • A strange journey to eat the Dunkin’ Ghost Pepper donut. [The Ringer]
  • Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue is opening a bar, Taffer’s Tavern, in Georgia, but other franchise locations will soon be around the country. [Taffer’s Tavern]