Joe Judge’s Giants isolation plan does not include a ‘pseudo-bubble’

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Joe Judge wasn’t trying to burst anyone’s bubble.

The New Orleans Saints rented a hotel for training camp that is off limits to the general public to increase the isolation of players and coaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, as first reported by NBC Sports.

The Giants, in Judge’s first year as coach, booked multiple floors in a team hotel nearby MetLife Stadium but have not mandated any coaches stay there. NFL rules dictate players cannot be required to stay.

“I read the same article about the kind of pseudo-bubble some teams are trying to create,” Judge said. “To be completely honest with you, if it’s not completely isolated [like] the NBA and NHL are working, it’s not a bubble. It’s really just a way of having training camp and trying to stay isolated.”

There are no unaffiliated guests or visitors allowed on the hotel floors reserved by the Giants, but it is not completely shut off to the outside world.

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“If it was a non-COVID year, we would be trying to keep the team as isolated as can be just to keep the focus on what we’re doing and build that training camp atmosphere,” Judge said. “Our players can either opt-in or opt-out of a hotel stay. The ones that are in have a curfew. We’ve expressed to the ones on the outside that they have to make the right decisions when they are away from the building in terms of how they structure their nights.”

Players and coaches returning home to their families increases the risk of contact exposures brought into the facility.

“The biggest message I’ve had for everybody is … it’s not about being in a bubble,” Judge said. “Personally, it’s not my right to go out and get something to eat and put myself in an atmosphere where I may bring something back to the team and cost them an opportunity on what we want.”

The NFL can fine and suspend personnel who engage in “High Risk COVID-19 conduct.” For example, prohibitions include attending indoor entertainment events (concerts, sporting events) and indoor night clubs and house parties where everyone is not wearing personal protective equipment.

“Everyone wants to go home and see their wife and children,” Judge said. “I want to go home and see mine as much as I can but the reality is there are sacrifices we are going to have to make this year. We have to determine individually if that means I have to spend a little bit less time, or make sure I don’t surround myself with other loved ones who aren’t going by the same guidelines I’m operating by. That’s a sacrifice we have to make. It’s not easy.”

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