The NFL pushed back on Monday against a published report that five of the league’s employees were allowed to skip the line earlier in the day at a state-partnered, COVID-19 testing site in New York.
According to the Gothamist, the situation sparked “outrage’’ and “complaints of unfair treatment’’ among the 100 or so people waiting in the cold, with some telling Gothamist they’d spent hours lined up outside the BioReference testing facility in East Manhattan for pre-scheduled appointments.
But the NFL disputed that its employees were allowed to skip the line. League spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports the employees provided their screening information prior to entering the testing facility to expedite the process.
The NFL has worked for the last two years with BioReference to test players and club personnel, according to McCarthy, who said the five league employees had a previously arranged appointment Monday in anticipation of working closely together in the office at the league headquarters for the NFL doubleheader Monday night.
“It was members of the football operations department that are in contact with club and stadium personnel to ensure gameday operations,’’ McCarthy said in a statement. “They work closely with officials at the league who are responsible for replay reviews and are in contact with officials on the field.’’
BioReference, the testing facility, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY Sports.
Gothamist cited an unnamed facility employee at BioReference who said the NFL employees were allowed to skip the line, adding they were instructed to give priority to employees of the NFL.
Lines outside testing facilities in New York have been particularly long because COVID-19 cases are spiking as the Omicron and Delta variants spread, according to Gothamist.