'Nightmare': Football WAG 'harassed' over 'false' virus claims

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Kelly and Matthew Stafford, pictured here at an NBA game.
Kelly and Matthew Stafford at an NBA game. Image: Associated Press

The wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has slammed the NFL after he had a ‘false positive’ test for coronavirus.

It was assumed that Stafford has tested positive for the virus when he was placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list last week.

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But the relief of finding out it was a false positive was overshadowed by the poor treatment Kelly Stafford says she and her family endured for a few days.

And she’s blaming the NFL for it.

Stafford says her kids were harassed and she was told she was “endangering others” when she went to the grocery store, among other issues.

She detailed the four days in an Instagram post, saying it was “somewhat of a nightmare.” And she said the NFL was at fault, saying it was irresponsible to release “that info to the world” before being certain of a positive test.

“We were all tested the day after and we were all negative, including Matthew … then he tested negative again, then again, again and again,” she wrote.

“I have been losing my mind because of how my Family has been treated since my husband was put on the Covid-IR list.

“Even after we knew it was a false positive, I was approached in a grocery store told I was ‘endangering others,’ my kids were harassed and kicked off a playground, I was told I needed to wait in my car when trying to pick up food, and people closest to us had to get tested just so they could go back to work … and that’s just to name a few things

“I blame the @NFL for not holding themselves accountable. These are people’s lives and livelihoods that are in those results in THEIR test sites.

“Maybe we should be absolutely positive a person has covid before releasing that info to the world. I’m sharing our experience because I don’t want it happening to any other family that plays for this league.”

Kelly Stafford calls for change to NFL wording

The NFL specifies that teams may not disclose if a player is in quarantine or tests positive for COVID-19 if they’re put on the reserve list, but it’s not hard to draw conclusions.

Even when they end up being wrong.

Here’s the disclaimer from the Minnesota Vikings announcement earlier this month that rookie receiver Justin Jefferson was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“This new reserve list category was created for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons,” the team said.

“If a player falls into either of these categories, their club is required to immediately place the player on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

“Per agreed upon NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on player's medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.”

As Kelly Stafford points out, people who see that players are put on the reserve/COVID-19 list will assume they’ve been exposed to the virus.

The league’s language on its policy won’t stop that. The NFL is used to putting out an injury report on players, which sometimes includes illnesses, but this is a different issue.

The NFL will have to figure out the line between releasing information on players and their status for games, while not violating a player’s privacy.

Kelly Stafford would advise the league to be more careful than it was with her husband’s status.

Last year she had surgery after doctors discovered a tumour in her brain. She would be classified as high risk if she contracted coronavirus.

With Frank Schwab - Yahoo Sports