Opinion | Cuomo Ought to Take a Knee in Buffalo

The Buffalo Payments have gained the AFC East division for the primary time in 25 years and secured their first residence playoff sport in nearly as lengthy. 1000’s of jubilant Payments followers waited hours within the chilly to greet the crew, which arrived on the Buffalo airport at 1:30 a.m. after beating the Denver Broncos on Dec. 19 to clinch the division title. The die-hards have been stressed after being barred from Payments video games all season. Whether or not Payments Stadium will be a part of the 13 others that permit in followers earlier than the playoffs could now depend upon the knowledge of Howard Zucker—the state well being commissioner, who signed off on New York’s now-infamous March 25 directive barring nursing properties from turning away Covid-positive residents.

I grew up in Buffalo within the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s, lean occasions for Payments followers. After I left for faculty in 1990, the crew promptly made it to the Tremendous Bowl, however misplaced when Scott Norwood’s last-minute field-goal try drifted vast proper. The Payments returned to the Tremendous Bowl throughout my sophomore, junior and senior years however misplaced every time. In 1995, once I was 23, the Payments gained the division however misplaced to Pittsburgh within the second playoff spherical. Little did I do know I’d be 48 earlier than when my crew gained the AFC East once more.

Struggling is an integral a part of being a Buffalo sports activities fan and so is loyalty. Presumably excepting the Inexperienced Bay Packers, I can’t consider a crew extra intently intertwined with its metropolis’s id and fortune than the Payments. In an in any other case hellish yr, the crew and its devoted—affectionately generally known as the “Payments Mafia”—lastly have a motive to be hopeful and proud.

The coal in our Payments stockings is the absence of followers within the stadium. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has despatched blended indicators about opening up Payments Stadium all season. On Sept. 30, he mentioned he’d tour the stadium and meet with crew management to “discuss by” the problems round reopening. By Nov. 6, he backtracked and mentioned that Dr. Zucker—whose nursing-home order led to the deaths of at the very least 6,200 folks—had instructed him it will be “reckless” to permit any followers again into the (out of doors) stadium, which has a capability of greater than 71,000.

The governor by no means got here to tour the stadium, however he lately mentioned he’d “love nothing extra” than to attend a Payments residence playoff sport. He insisted that Dr. Zucker’s Division of Well being must green-light any deal to open up the stadium, together with a cautious proposal to confess about 6,700 followers.

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