2019.12.6.EMG.DLY.FTB.UO.VS.UTAH.FH-10.jpg

Both teams linne up pre snap. Oregon Ducks football takes on Utah for the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Dec. 6, 2019. (DL Young/Emerald)

I’ve seen what the virus does to people. I have firsthand experience. 

On a Tuesday in July amidst the pandemic, my dad, who spends countless hours balancing two jobs, began to feel ill. My family and I immediately went into denial, “He doesn’t have it. He’s ok. He always gets sick around this time. It can’t be him.” After the nervousness and anxiety from my mom grew larger on her face, and the tiredness and weakness overwhelmed my dad's body, he finally went to get tested. And within 72 hours he got the results. 

Positive.

Then, behind my parents white bedroom door, my dad began his 14 day battle. Fourteen days of no sense of smell or taste. Fourteen days of lethargy, but being unable to sleep. Fourteen days of being scared to sleep, because he feared that he wouldn’t wake up. 

This virus is not a joke. It doesn't care which side you're on, who you are or where you come from. It attacks everyone, and it demands to be taken seriously. That’s why the Pac-12 made the safe and right decision to postpone the season and perhaps save athletes from catastrophe.   

I understand that these athletes, more or less, have one shot to display their talents to professional scouts for a chance to play at the next level. COVID-19 has, now, changed the entire playing field for these athletes. 

After being out of work for at least two weeks my dad returned, but faced the aftermath of contracting the virus. Following his first day back he almost had to drive himself to the hospital because his lungs felt like they were resting on a bed of nails. His sense of smell still comes and goes, but fears that more side effects could follow. 

What about the athletes? What will happen when they contract the virus and have to recover? Especially football players. You expect them to play two seasons within six months? One season  is already extremely taxing on your body. 

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott needs to give the athletes what they want. He needs to give them a third party testing site, guaranteed safety and an option to opt out of the season. He, and the rest of the higher ups, aren't playing or risking their lives, but are just reaping the benefits.

Gabriel Ornelas is the Sports editor. Previously, he was a sports reporter covering everything from football to women's beach volleyball. Ornelas is a senior from Bakersfield, California, and is pursuing a journalism degree.