Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins attempted Wednesday to clarify comments made in a podcast interview with Good Morning Football's Kyle Brandt earlier this summer that he is not personally concerned by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I went on that Kyle Brandt podcast about a month ago, maybe a month and a half ago in July, and what I was trying to say back then, admittedly, I probably wasn't as clear as I would have liked to have been," Cousins said. "But what I wanted to say then, what I would echo again now is that while the virus does not give me a great amount of personal fear, there's still great reason for me to engage in wearing a mask and social distancing and washing my hands as frequently as I can and following protocols that have been set in place obviously to be respectful and considerate of other people, which is very important, but then also t be available for all 16 game this fall because as the protocol is set up, if a player were to test positive, they would be potentially out of a game or games. And so there's plenty of reasons to wear a mask, social distance and be very vigilant to help stop the spread of the virus.
"That was the heart behind what I was trying to say in July admittedly I didn't say it as clear as I would have liked to. So I just want to share that same message again. Hopefully articulate it a little bit better. But that's always been my heart."
During an appearance on Brandt's10 Questions With Kyle Brandtpodcast -- an interview published Wednesday morning but recorded in July -- Cousins was asked to rate his level of concern about the virus on a scale of 1 to 10, to which Cousins replied: "I'm not going to call anybody stupid, for the trouble it could get me in. But I'm about a .000001."
"I want to respect what other people's concerns are," Cousins continued. "For me personally, if you're just talking no one else can get the virus, what is your concern if you could get it, I would say I'm going to go about my daily life. If I get it, I'm going to ride it out. I'm going to let nature do its course. Survival-of-the-fittest kind of approach. And just say, if it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I'm going to be O.K. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die. I kind of have peace about that."
Those comments were roundly criticized as being insensitive to the effect the virus has had on the U.S. and the more than 180,000 people who have died.
Cousins was not scheduled to talk with the media Wednesday -- a planned day off for Minnesota -- but the team made him available to reporters after his comments became a national storyline.
Cousins specified that personal stance on COVID-19 stems from his faith.
"Well, I have peace," Cousins said. "I don't believe that I can control the outcome of my life. There's many things out of my control, but obviously my faith is at the foundation of my life and I trust the Lord to handle things and if something happens I trust Him to have a plan and a purpose and to use even a pain, a setback, adversity to use that to help grow me and teach me more about him."
Cousins was asked if he regretted saying "if I die, I die" given the number of people who have died as a result of the virus.
"Again I think it was just the heart behind it was just saying that I have peace if that were to happen was all that I was wanting to say," Cousins said.