Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that requires individuals to wear a face covering whenever in an indoor public setting as the state tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Now, a pair of hated rivals in the college sports landscape are teaming up to support the message and to hammer the message home.
The state released a television advertisement on Wednesday encouraging people to mask up when unable to maintain social distancing. The “Ball Is In Your Court” PSA features Michigan coaches Jim Harbaugh (football), Juwan Howard (men’s basketball), and Kim Barnes Arico (women’s basketball) and MSU’s Mel Tucker (football), Tom Izzo (men’s basketball), and Suzy Merchant (women’s basketball).
“If we all work together as a team and wear our masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position for kids to return to school safely in the fall,” Whitmer said in the release. “Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent, and it’s been proven that masking up can protect our small businesses and our economy. By wearing masks, we can save lives and protect our family, friends, and the heroes on the front lines from the spread of COVID-19. This is going to be a team effort, but I know Michigan is up to the challenge. Let’s all mask up when we’re out in public.”
Barnes Arico, Izzo and Merchant are joining Whitmer in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, which can be live-streamed on Facebook and Twitter.
The PSA comes on the heels of growing buzz that college football could not be played this fall. It’s become clear that in order to get a lid on this this virus and return to “normalcy” quicker, which includes the playing of college sports, this is what has to be done.