Did Charley Pride Catch COVID-19 at the CMAs? — Country Stars Weigh In

Charley Pride CMAs
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Charley Pride CMAs
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Photo Credit: Republic Country Club / CC by 3.0

The death of country music legend Charley Pride is raising uncomfortable questions about the CMAs.

In the wake of Charley Pride’s death, many stars are now wondering if the decision to hold the Country Music Association’s show indoors may have contributed to the star’s death from COVID-19. Maren Morris started the line of inquiry on Twitter over the weekend in a series of now-deleted tweets. Morris suggested that the indoor event could be why Pride caught COVID-19 and died from complications of the virus a month later.

The CMAs were held on November 11th at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The event was held indoors, with many stars attending in person without masks. The organization says it made sure everyone was tested thoroughly before admittance. Pride sung his hit “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” for the show, which was his last public performance before he died. Pride received a Lifetime Achievement award at the show.

“I don’t want to jump to conclusions because no family statement has been made. But if this was a result of the CMAs being indoors, we should all be outraged. Rest in power, Charley,” Morris tweeted about the news. Singer Mickey Guyton quickly responded, “Girl, I thought the same damn thing. We need answers as to how Charley Pride got COVID.”

Since the tweet has sparked speculation about Charley Pride possibly catching COVID at the CMAs, the organization has responded.

“Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions,” the CMA writes in a blog post addressing the controversy. “Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville. He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative.

“After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times. All of us in the Country Music community are heartbroken by Charley’s passing. Out of respect for his family during their grieving period, we will not be commenting on this further,” the organization said.

Several artists dropped out of performing during this year’s awards show, due to close COVID-19 contacts. But the organization says those artists who dropped out were never at the venue. Stagehands, production staff, and everyone involved in the show were tested rigorously for the event to go forward.

“The protocols we followed were required not only by the CDC but the local health department, as well as the unions and guilds,” CMA CEO Sarah Trahern confirmed in an interview before the show.

10 Responses

  1. Wear the mask & keep apart, why do you want to prolong this?

    1) why were masks not worn… hello, singers project into the air?!!!!! onto mics, etc.
    2) why so impossible to not go BEYOND what gov’t says & do what is right… esp when elderly people are involved?
    3) CONTACT TRACE every person in the venue that day… won’t prove where he got it, but would confirm a likelihood & rationale that TN state/county/city laws are NOT enough.
    4) How could any fan of music not want to protect the talent? Shame on non-mask-wearers for working on the production without respect for others.

  2. Vail, CO

    Let people decide for themselves. If you’re elderly, stay home and isolate as you are likely higher risk. Or don’t. Charlie Pride decided not to stay home, that was his choice, not to mention he could have done it virtually. Everyone else has a near 0% of getting more than minor symptoms from this. It’s not worth destroying an entire economy and people’s lives over.

    • Idiots abound

      Fuck that. Your answer is complete bullshit. People decide for themselves? So, if you decide not to wear a mask and potentially infect me, I’m at fault? By you not wearing a mask, and telling me that I ( as an old person) should just stay home, is limiting my freedom.

      Your ignorance of this is staggering, after months of seeing all kinds of people get sick, die and suffer long-lasting effects. Please do some actual research.

      Just wear a mask, and stop being such a pussy. It’s not hard. It doesn’t take much effort and it doesn’t infringe upon your freedom.

      If everyone would have complied from the start, we would have fewer deaths and the economy (which you’re more concerned with than the health and welfare of your fellow man) would be intact.

      • Vail, CO

        Call me names if you want. Most people at that show (under 65 or so without co-morbidities) had a greater chance of getting killed in a car wreck on their way to the show than dying of coronavirus contracted at the show. So why should we shut down everything and destroy our economy because you want “freedom”?

        More than 650,000 Americans die from heart related disease every year. Especially the oldest people. So why not shut down McDonald’s (which ironically is open during this pandemic)?

        Also I didn’t tell you whether I wear a mask or not. I do, even though the “science” is pretty unclear if they’re effective (especially reused cloth and lycra masks for example).

        • Idiots ab

          I will call you names, like ignorant and selfish.

          Your stance on this being all or nothing is wrong. Nobody had to “shut everything down”…at least not initially. The problem was with a lack of compliance by people (directed by a foolish president). Had everyone worn masks and followed rules that were laid out, we wouldn’t be in this bind.

          As for morbidity rate, when you are transmit the virus to others, it’s you that is making the choice on how they deal with morbidity and that is shameful. Death isn’t the only stat you should pay attention to. What about those people who have gotten very sick and have long-lasting effects? How about those people who have gotten a mild case, but transferred it to others? The virus may be stronger against some groups, but that doesn’t mean they should be any less protected.

          Your attempts to compare this to car crashes or heart disease are way off target. Those aren’t transmitted by air. As well, you probably wear a seat belt even though the risk of having a car crash is low, but you do anyway because it could protect you. When it comes to protecting others by the simple act of wearing a mask, people need to pay attention and just do it, unless they’re so self-absorbed and weak. My use of the word “freedom” wasn’t about my desire for freedom, but the baseless claim by those who view this pandemic as just another flu and the mask mandates as infringement upon their freedoms.

          The science is very clear that masks do work. The guidelines specific what types of masks and how to wear, wash and use them, also. Cut through the bullshit and realize that this situation is real; that masks and other rules will help people and the economy (which seems to be your number one concern).

          • Vail, CO

            I’m sorry, these lockdowns and closures don’t make any sense. I’m a younger person with no health conditions with ~0% chance of dying from coronavirus. At absolute worst I will get a strong flu. A vast majority of the 330 mil. people in the USA are in a similar low risk category. I have a higher chance of dying from a Jack n the Box cheeseburger or highway wreck than coronavirus – 100 times over.

            So why shut down the entire economy because you can’t isolate?

            Even worse, why should we destroy millions of lives, destroy hundreds of thousands of businesses, increase suicides, create civil unrest, and provoke a spike in other thousands of other illnesses (for example cancer screenings are not happening right now)… all because elderly and those with pre-existing conditions want to go out?

            It’s stupid. We’re destroying not just our economy but entire lives, marriages, etc. We could have spent just a fraction of all that damage to isolate those who can’t isolate easily —

            Sorry, this goes down as one of the least intelligent and inane public policy decisions in the history of civilization.

            And by the way — the CMA’s didn’t kill Charley Pride. He got it somewhere else. But even so, he shoulda stayed home!!

  3. stev0

    The economy would be back to near-normal by now if folks had just simply worn masks and distanced. The ego and ignorance to call these common sense precautions oppressive is appalling.

  4. To Vail, CO

    You’re an ignorant, selfish young person who apparently hasn’t read anything about this pandemic. You are the main reason why it continues. While you may believe you have low risk or you won’t get harsh symptoms, you are a spreader. Taking no responsibility for your actions, you are the one who unknowlingly gets the virus and gives it to others. You are the one who should be wearing a mask as it is in place to protect others from you, as opposed to protecting you.

    Your assumption about Charlie Pride is just that – a guess. Your comparison to other ways to die doesn’t hold water. How many times does a carjacking spread to others by way of droplets in the air? Idiot.