An offensive lineman for the University of Arizona football program was suspended from the team for refusing to abide by athletic department protocols for managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Tucson.com, Edgar Burrola, a redshirt junior who started six games for the Wildcats in 2019, has resisted wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance during workouts — which raised concerns among the athletic department that the program could be exposed to an outbreak akin to what happened at Michigan State and Rutgers.
In an interview on Tuesday, Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin confirmed the suspension, without mentioning Burrola by name. Sumlin said that failure to adhere to the protocols is what led to the suspension.
“It’s my job to protect and uphold that protocol for everybody else that’s involved in this organization — players, coaches, administrators, medical (personnel),” Sumlin told Tucson.com. “You’ve got coaches’ families.
“If you’re not gonna pay attention to the protocol, wear a mask, all that other stuff, we just can’t have you around.”
Burrola has reportedly expressed skepticism about the pandemic, tweeting that “COVID-19 is fake,” on May 30 according to Tucson.com. That tweet has since been deleted.
The Pac-12 Conference has said that any player that chooses not to participate in their sport during the next academic year due to COVID-19 concerns could remain in good standing on their teams and maintain their scholarship without ramifications.
Burrola remains on the Wildcats roster.