HOUSTON – As the Houston Texans prepare to kick off the season against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Houston’s defensive end J.J. Watt sat down to discuss the journey it has been to safely resume professional football amid the coronavirus pandemic and his team’s plans to make a social statement in the wake of racial injustice.
Daily testing, contact-tracing, motion trackers and facial recognition technology to open doors -- all of that has been part of the NFL’s precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to Watt.
“It’s been different but our guys have adapted extremely well," Watt said during the interview on NBC’s “Today” show. "Everybody has been doing a great job at following the protocols, because at the end of the day we all want to play. We want to give these fans something to watch and get excited for.”
Thursday’s game is expected to kick off in front of up to 16,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are one of five teams out of 32 total in the league allowing fans to attend home games.
Coronavirus aside, another big question remains: what social statements will players make?
From kneeling during the national anthem and the wearing of “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts, to entirely boycotting games, sports fans have seen it all so far with the MLB and NBA.