NONSENSE: Cooper Rejects Parents’ Plea to Attend UNC Football Opener in Outdoor Stadium with Capacity for 55,000

CHAPEL HILL – Well, another day in the Twilight Zone, where nothing makes sense and Governor Roy Cooper is the ring leader of the nonsense circus. Governor Roy Cooper won’t even let parents of college football players attend their games, because of the coronavirus his insistence on fear mongering and unilateral control.

UNC is scheduled to play its home opener against Syracuse University on Saturday in Kenan Stadium; with out fans, of course. No, the Pandemic Panic has all but snuffed out campus life, classes have moved all online, and collegiate sports games will happen in mostly empty facilities.

Yet the parents of UNC football players thought they may get an exception to the restrictions on attendance. They thought, logically, that a stadium that can hold more than 55,000 fans could certainly accommodate 55 parents, socially distanced and wearing masks, so they cheer on and take pride in their children playing the first home game of the season.

So they made an appeal to Cooper, along with the coach, congressmen, alumni, board members (and every thinking North Carolinian). Cooper rejected them.

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From the Charlotte Observer:

“Jessica Alford said she hasn’t seen her son, North Carolina linebacker Jeremiah Gemmell, since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had planned on making the trip from Georgia to watch him play as the Tar Heels take on Syracuse Saturday in Kenan Stadium in the season opener at noon. She’s making other plans now.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s office is sticking by its Phase 2.5 plan, which allows only 50 people in an outdoor arena. Kenan Stadium seats 50,000-plus, but because Orange County has been hit harder with coronavirus cases than other areas, attendance will be limited to 25 people under the county’s policy.

“We were all very disappointed today to learn the answer was no and there was no offer for any kind of adjustment or modification or anything,” Shannon Jones, the mother of sophomore linebacker Dilan Gonzalez, told The News & Observer. Jones is the president of the Tar Heel Football Parents.

It’s not just the Tar Heel parents who will be on the outside looking in. The same policy applies throughout the state for all other football programs. That’s why chancellors, presidents and athletic directors from six NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the state — Appalachian State, Charlotte, East Carolina, N.C. State, UNC and Wake Forest — all signed a letter addressed to Cooper asking that the policy be re-evaluated. […]”

And now all of them are beginning to see how none of this makes any sense whatsoever. It certainly isn’t a decisions based on ‘data and science’ to deny parents the opportunity to watch a game in an outdoor stadium with plenty of space, while at the same time others can pile into a restaurant.

The seeming contradictions and illogical rules are not lost on these parents:

“[…]That’s hard for Jackie Ruggles to accept. UNC has one other home game in September against Charlotte on the 19th. But her son Noah is a fourth-year junior, who could be in his final season of play. She’d like to attend every game possible and doesn’t believe the policy makes much sense in this situation.

The whole idea for closing down in the beginning was to, you know, flatten the curve, right?” Ruggles said. “If we’re still using that as a measure, then I would like to know how going into a stadium with a couple hundred parents being several hundred feet apart, and everybody wearing a mask — because masks are still protective, correct? How then, are we potentially spreading COVID by doing that? It’s very difficult for me to understand.” […]”

Mrs. Ruggles has some very good points there. The fault can be found in the desire to make sense of this in terms of mitigating the spread of the virus; no common sense explanation will be found there because it does not exist.

Instead, the only reasonable explanation for such a nonsensical decision by Governor Roy Cooper and Health Czar Mandy Cohen is that they cannot afford to relax their grip on arbitrary authority, because that might serve to undermine the authority of all of their Pandemic Panic overreach. What’s more, is it would weaken the fear narratives that are necessary to keep us from getting back to our way of life.

It’s the same sense of drunken authority that justifies the ongoing closure of private bars and taverns, movie theaters and event venues.

When will we snap out of this daze that deludes us into thinking the governor and health czar have this kind of authority over our lives?

Read more parent reactions, as well as the behind the scenes efforts of UNC staff and politicians to get Cooper to relent, here.

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