If Kevin Warren is hired as the Chicago Bears President and Chief Financial Officer, it will not be the first time that Justin Fields and Warren have crossed paths. Warren was unanimously voted in as the sixth Big Ten Conference Commissioner on June 4, 2019. Unfortunately for Warren, he only saw one season before having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic — a pandemic that changed the world in a way only a select few had seen in their lifetime.
As countries shut down to try and slow the spread, it directly affected sporting events. The NFL played in empty stadiums. The NBA played inside a “bubble” so to speak. College sports were canceled or delayed and that included the Big Ten Conference. However, with other conferences giving players and coaches the option to participate, there was a backlash on the Big Ten Conference — specifically toward Kevin Warren.
Many parents and players were upset that the 2020 season didn’t look to be happening. Chicago Bears quarterback, Justin Fields took it a step further and went to social media to collect signatures for a petition he started.
The petition had over 80,000 followers in only a few hours. It never hit the goal of 400,000 followers, but the message was still put out there — players want to play. Eventually, the season resumed and the past is now history. That said, Kevin Warren also doesn’t regret the decision made by the Big Ten Conference in 2020. In 2021, he had this to say about the situation:
"“I don’t have any regrets. Quite naturally, we all look back on our lives and other things that we wish we would have maybe done a little bit differently. But if I had the chance to do it all over last year, I would make the same decisions that we made. Maybe the communication wasn’t as clean or as perfect as it could have been at times, and I think you’ve seen improvement with that … But all in all, as I look back, last year was a year of gratitude. It was a very, very complicated time in our lives … when you add it all up, I think the biggest thing that I learned was the importance of being grateful and also having a sense of grace, not only with ourselves but with others.”"
The Chicago Bears are working to find a replacement for Ted Phillips. One candidate has emerged as a front runner in Kevin Warren.
With the Chicago Bears now pushing Kevin Warren to the front of their hiring list, one naturally has to wonder if there is any bad blood between Warren and Justin Fields. I cannot imagine that this little blip in their history makes a difference to Fields or Warren in the grand scheme of things. Should Warren get the job, their history will likely not matter going forward.