NEW YORK — Saquon Barkley was refreshingly accountable on Thursday morning for Giants players’ maskless Manhattan partying.
The Daily News asked Barkley what he would say to people who may have concluded that Barkley, Daniel Jones and other Giants players do not take coronavirus seriously.
“That’s a great question,” Barkley said. “I would say that I do take the virus seriously. I think that we let our guard down, to be completely honest. We were trying to do it the right way, and that little moment of whatever that was captured I guess just came off looking negatively. But we actually were trying to do it the right way.”
“But I really do take this virus seriously,” Barkley continued. “I was really in the forefront I guess you could say of trying to do things, whether it was working with Campbell’s and food banks to give food during the coronavirus, or even if it was doing little videos to help raise awareness and help raise money for it. But I truly want to say I apologize for that, as a leader of this team. And, you know, being one of the faces of this franchise, I’ve gotta be better for us.”
It was good to see Barkley, 23, own up to his mistake and express remorse. Jones never did.
“I certainly respect the question and acknowledge the importance of it, but coach spoke about it the other day,” Jones said in October. “We have a way of handling those things. We’re going to handle it internally here.”
The most Jones would say is: “I had PPE (personal protective equipment) and certainly need to make sure I’m wearing it, but like I said, we’re not going to comment anymore on it. Coach has certainly addressed it.”
Joe Judge did discipline Jones, Barkley and other players involved in the incident internally, as evidenced by Barkley’s sincere remorse. But the coach did not put the players on blast or bench anyone. Judge makes it a point to always back his players publicly and handle disciplinary matters in-house.
In a video from the early morning of Oct. 24, Jones was seen with a woman and a man who goes by the name DJ Lugghead inside a bar, all without masks. Jones took a drink from the woman and sipped it.
A separate photo of Jones, Barkley and the DJ in a bar without masks was captioned “Rockin wit Danny dimes and Saquon.” Another video showed Barkley, with a torn right ACL, riding a bicycle on the street and jamming with teammates to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares.”
Judge and the Giants have been extremely vigilant with their COVID-19 protocols, so it was clear at the time that no matter the players’ intentions that night, they had screwed up.
And it was important that one of them eventually would acknowledge it. Barkley did so.
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