Sports and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sports teams and facilities brace for COVID-19 outbreak by sterilizing facilities.

By: Victoria Femia

For the past two month the world came to a screeching halt as the COVID-19 pandemic took over. Businesses shutdown, people are isolated in their homes, and one of the biggest things to happen, happened.  

Every sport shutdown completely. 

After a couple months of putting plans and protocols into place it seems like pro sports are finally looking to make a comeback. Fans everywhere are excited and hopeful for the return of seeing their favourite sport but there could be downfalls to sports seasons resuming. 

It’s important to look at how this all began for different leagues, what’s next and how this will affect the athletes as well as the franchises.

NBA

The NBA was the first major league to make a decision to suspend the league indefinitely. The decision came after Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, became the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. 

The news of a player testing positive for the virus came minutes before tip-off between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz. The league postponed the game and shortly after they postponed the season. 

From then 13 other NBA players have tested positive for the virus including Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart and Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell. Fast Forward two months later, the league is 2-4 weeks away from making a decision on whether to resume the season or not. But resuming the season begs the question of, is it safe to play? 

A group of superstars in the league, including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony David and others, had a private conference call and the consensus was that all players are in favor of returning to play. 

One main thing Commissioner Adam Silver is looking to do is to find a “hub city” to host all the NBA games to limit player travel. 

The only thing that is for sure is that if/when the season resumes there will be no fans in the audience.

NHL

Following the suspension of the NBA season, the NHL quickly followed and suspended their season with 189 regular season games remaining.  A total of 4 unnamed players have tested positive in the league, two from the Ottawa Senators and two from the Colorado Avalanche. 

Unlike the AHL, who cancelled their season and the Calder Cup, the NHL seems to be taking a different route with their season. It looks like the league will be resuming as per NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he came out saying that cancelling the season “is not something I’m even contemplating.”

“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said. 

Much like the NBA, the NHL is looking for a hub city for the season to resume. It is also very likely that they would skip the regular season jumping straight into playoffs with a 24-team playoff structure. 

An infectious disease specialist believes hockey may have to take extra precautions to be played safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. The doctor relayed a list of suggestions to TSN, including full face shields, no fighting, and no spitting.

MLB

The MLB didn’t even get a chance to finish their spring training before the Coronavirus shut them down. 

The league is now making plans to resume the season, but many complications will follow. In order to resume the season there cannot be any fans in the stadium for safety purposes which is a main factor in the players pay cuts.

The MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke publicly about the health and safety plans that the league is creating to submit to the players’ union. Manfred also says that if they don’t play this season the losses for the owners could approach $4 billion. 

Some MLB players would rather the season be cancelled because of all the complications that come with resuming the season. 

Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays was one player who voiced his opinion about the matter. He took to his personal Twitch account to say playing this season is not worth it with all the pay cuts and not being able to see his family. 

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies backed up Snell’s comments saying, “Someone has to say it.”

Tweet: “Find out how major leagues are keeping up with the COVID-19 pandemic by reading ‘Sports and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ by Victoria Femia.”

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