Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews has spoken publicly for the first time about his alleged COVID-19 diagnosis and we can now say officially that it is no longer merely alleged. On Monday as teams in the National Hockey League entered Phase 3 of the league’s planned Return to Play, Matthews made comments to some members of the media regarding the positive test that had previously been reported by controversial Toronto sports journalist Steve Simmonds.
Matthews admitted that he had indeed tested positive but like many young people that have been infected with the virus he felt no ill effects at all.
James Mirtle of The Athletic dug a little deeperand found out that Matthews was not happy with being outed as the only NHL player who tested positive to the virus.
“Those close to the 22-year-old said that he had been disappointed and frustrated by the fact he was “outed” as a confirmed case against his will, even as the identities of every other infected NHL player have, to date, been protected. Many media outlets, including/The Athletic/, have declined to identify players against their will, even as cases have multiplied rapidly across the sporting world.”
Matthews spoke a bit about the tough position he was placed into, and tried to remain as professional as he could as we all know Simmonds was not believed to be in his report that outed the star player, focusing on what he needed to get done to get better.
“It didn’t really hinder my training,” Matthews said. “I was able to do stuff at home. Obviously wasn’t able to leave or skate or anything. That’s kind of really the only thing that took a hit for me. I was skating beforehand and having to take two or three weeks off the ice. That obviously kind of catches up to you.
“But (I was) pretty much asymptomatic. Felt, for the most part, pretty normal for the two weeks. But did my quarantine and feeling healthy now. So it’s all good.”
However, agents and others players across the league were outraged that his privacy had been violated.
“That was totally out of line,” said one high profile agent, who declined to be identified.
Matthews is clearly focusing on what matters at this point and is feeling better. We just don’t know how he will react when he meets Simmonds next in a dressing room…