Kansas State’s two most prominent coaches joined together Tuesday in a simple plea: Wear your mask.
K-State head football coach Chris Klieman and men’s basketball head coach Bruce Weber filmed a public service announcement, alongside senior linebacker Justin Hughes, urging Riley County citizens to don face coverings when they’re out and about.
“It is very important that we all take care of our health,” Klieman said at the beginning of the PSA, which was posted on K-State Athletics’ official Twitter account. “Manhattan, Kan., is a wonderful and enjoyable place to live. A place we all love to call home.”
The three then alternated the remaining lines of the message.
“With COVID-19 cases on the rise in this county, we must all do our part in preventing the spread of the virus,” Hughes said.
“Face masks, combined with other preventative measures such as frequent hand washing and social distancing, can (do just) that,” Weber said.
“Wear a mask in public,” Klieman said.
“It’s a simple thing to do,” Weber said.
“Let’s all do our part in taking care of Manhattan and Riley County,” Hughes said.
“And (keep) our great campus as safe as possible,” Klieman said. “Thank you.”
The PSA came out one day after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced a mandate that would require Kansans to wear face masks in public. The order will go in effect Friday, with the number of coronavirus cases in the state continuing to rise.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported 14,443 cases, 1,152 hospitalizations and 270 deaths statewide Monday.
Riley County officials announced Tuesday it had 11 new cases. There now are 233 positives cases in the county, with 139 active, 91 recovered and three deaths. In Tuesday’s announcement, county officials said six additional people have recovered.
The K-State football program hasn’t been immune.
The Wildcats began voluntary workouts June 15, only to suspend them five days later after 14 players tested positive. The program plans to resume workouts July 13.
As it stands, however, K-State football players effectively are striking. Nearly every player shared a letter Saturday stating that they would not “play, practice or meet” until the university meets their demands to develop a more rigid policy denouncing racism in the wake of a controversial tweet mocking George Floyd’s death made by a student last week.
For now, K-State’s season opener is slated for Sept. 5, when it is supposed to welcome Buffalo to Manhattan for a game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. All of that is subject to change, though, pending further developments with the coronavirus, which already has upended sports across the globe.