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Column: Ohio State players and coaches’ coronavirus messages of support, why the world needs more of them

Ohio State athletes and staff members, as well as various celebrities have taken to social media to offer encouraging messages related to the coronavirus.

Ryan Day’s Twitter (@ryandaytime)

As you’ve probably seen over the last week or so, Ohio State current and former athletes, coaches, and staff members have taken to Twitter to offer encouraging messages to the general public, as well as messages of support to health care workers at the front lines of Covid-19.

For example:

While each one of them have received overwhelmingly positive responses, you might recall the first one’s to do this— celebrities and professional athletes— didn’t get quite as much positive feedback.

When 25 celebrities sang “Imagine” while in isolation, creating a moving montage...

the video went viral, but not for a good reason. While I’m sure the featured celebs thought they were offering a positive message in an otherwise dark and draining time, people took it the wrong way. Instead, people saw a bunch of rich celebs telling them “imagine no possessions” while they’re in their beautiful, fully staffed mansions with no worries.

Then, along came Tom Hanks and the NBA players who announced that they had tested positive for Covid-19.

And this time, while the majority of people offered them their thoughts and prayers, many were also unimpressed because of course celebrities and professional athletes can get tested for the virus as soon as they get a runny nose.

These are valid complaints. It’s infuriating to see a friend, family member, or even yourself show flu-like symptoms, but you’ll never know if its serious because you have to give up your first born to get tested. And no one wants to hear multi-millionaires telling them to chill out and pretend like everything is okay, meanwhile you had to close the doors to your restaurant that was quite literally putting bread on your table.

Again, not a good look.

But—and hear me out, I touched on this in last week’s Play Like a Girl episode—while it was a poor ( bad) song choice, and while its straight up not fair that the rich and famous get tested at the blink of an eye, I think they would be doing the world a disservice by not using their platform during this time. These celebs, players, coaches, etc. have the ability to reach millions upon millions of people, and whether they post goofy TikTok dances, messages of support, song montages, or especially an announcement about their diagnosis, someone on this planet is going to see it and is going to either smile, laugh, feel less alone, or realize that this virus is, in fact, very real—its no longer just affecting a group of people they don’t know in some hospital across the country, its affecting Tom Hanks, Kevin Durant, Andy Cohen, Sean Payton— the person they idolize and see every day on their Instagram feed.

I know that some of our first reactions when seeing these posts—these “messages of support”—is something like “thanks, but how does this help me?” I challenge you to reframe that mindset and ask yourself: “What if there were zero messages of support, zero celebs speaking out?” The fact of the matter is, besides donating time, money, and blood, there’s only so much any of us can do during this time— and that includes Will Ferrell.

While I obviously don’t want anymore celebs/athletes to get sick, I’d much rather a world where they tell millions of people: hey, this can happen to you. Stay inside.

I’d so much rather watch singing montages and videos from my favorite sports team during a scary, isolating (and sports-less) global pandemic than go through this without them.

I know a few people on a personal level who are literally more inclined to #StayInside if Ryan Day tells them to do it.