When the Great Plague was upon London in 1665, the Lord Mayor issued this decree: “That every house visited (by the disease) be marked with a red cross of a foot long in the middle of the door, evident to be seen, and with these usual printed words, that is to say, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us’, to be set close over the same cross, there to continue until lawful opening of the same house.”
In 2020, the coronavirus plague hasn’t got us nearly to that extent, but as the AFL girds its loins to relaunch, a few footballers might wonder if they somehow were a bit too careless in what they wished for.
Having spent a couple of months under an obligation to stay home, receiving no visitors, and just as the rest of us are being released by degrees from the same captivity, footballers will be again obliged to stay home for at least a couple more months, receiving few or no visitors. It’s not solitary confinement, but it is house arrest. One footy person characterised the regime as all the old rules plus seven more.
If a player’s living arrangements are thought not to be compatible with that edict, it might be suggested that he move elsewhere for a while. Checks will be made. It’s not just players, of course: there is also the posse of coaches and staff the trail around a footy team. That’s at least 1000 people.