Houston Roughnecks players continue fan interaction despite coronavirus fears

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The XFL has recommended players avoid high fives and autographs due to growing coronavirus concerns, but in a league of accessibility, it's not so easy.

In the XFL, fans get to know players like never before.

During Saturday's Houston Roughnecks game, players signed autographs, gave high fives and grabbed fans' phones to take selfies.

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"I appreciate the fans coming out, supporting us, and I feel like it's my obligation to come out here and sign autographs and give them a little bit of love," Roughnecks player Marqueston Huff explained.

But, a global health crisis could impact fan access. ABC13 learned the XFL sent a list of recommendations to players as more Americans come down with the deadly Coronavirus.

Map of COVID-19 cases across the US, updated as confirmed by CDC


One of the recommendations is to avoid high fives and autographs.

"I'm going to sign them, and take pictures," Roughnecks player Ryheem Malone explained. "Because I love them and they're out here for us. They came out here for us, and that's just something I'm going to do."



"Why not support the people who support us," Roughnecks player Sammie Coates said. "They came out. The virus is still going on. They're still supporting us, so let's support them."

"That's what they make Germ-X for, hand sanitizer. Wash your hands. You've got to protect yourself with outbreaks like this, as far as preventative stuff," Huff said.

It's not just the XFL. The MLB and NBA have told players the same thing, a measure some fans find hard to believe.

READ MORE: Houston Astros make changes to autograph signing process amid coronavirus concerns

"It kind of would be not right," Roughnecks fan Raul Pena said.

"I agree with taking the precautions, but the game is the game," Roughnecks fan Derick Smith said. "Let's just enjoy it."

At least for now, some Roughnecks players intend to keep the interactions going.

"At the end of the day, you can't control nothing," Coates explained. "You can wash your hands and prepare, but all it takes is one thing you do wrong, so why not support the people who support us?"

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