Illinois RB Ra'Von Bonner explains decision to pass on playing football in 2020
Ra’Von Bonner was one of two Illinois football players who did not want to play this season. Teammate and offensive lineman Jake Cerny was the other, but when the Illini football program released a statement, the reason was simply given as “personal reasons.”
Bonner is deciding to pass on playing during the 2020 season because of concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19. As someone who also has asthma, the running back believes the risk of stepping on the field this fall is far greater than the reward.
“Playing football, I feel we’re more at risk with the amount of guys we have,” Bonner told Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune. “In football you have to touch someone else. You can spread that to family members. That’s not what I want. I don’t want to not see my family, my sister, my girlfriend.”
Bonner says he hopes to play again as a fifth-year senior for the Fighting Illini in 2021. The B1G has already stated that scholarships will be honored for any student-athlete who doesn’t feel comfortable playing this season.
Seeing as how the 2020 season could have been his last with the program, it’s not exactly how Bonner wanted to go out.
“I don’t want to go out like that my senior year,” he said. “If I test positive, I’ll miss the season. I’m already missing [part of the] season. …It’s obviously not easy. I really love football. However, the risks are greater than the reward. The reward doesn’t sound as great with a short season.”
The B1G has already made the decision to eliminate all nonconference games from the schedule due to the pandemic. Further details on what a schedule will look like is still unclear.