Coronavirus and its Affect on Sports
Since about a week ago, almost every professional sports league in the country and many around the globe have either delayed their season or have completely cancelled/suspended their seasons.
This has been nothing but a downward spiral for sports as the virus itself continues to spread and wreak havoc. Also, it has increasingly got worse in the United States, especially in the last few days, so every organization is taking the right precautions necessary. If these precautions were not taken sooner and some leagues had continued, this could have been much worse than it is right now.
Unfortunately, sports have been severely impacted by this virus and it does not look like that it will be resolved in the near future for the time being, which means fans will need to get used to this unfamiliar feeling.
This downfall began when the NBA decided to suspend its season indefinitely once it was found that Rudy Gobert, center of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the virus. Due to this being discovered, the league had to stop the game between the Jazz and the OKC Thunder immediately mid-game which is then what ultimately made them suspend the league.
Shortly after, the entirety of the Jazz team and staff had to be quarantined to see if they had the virus. The next day it was announced that Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus, and this sent the whole league into a frenzy. It was said that Gobert was being carefree in the locker room touching things which most likely is the answer to all this. Later on, it was also discovered that Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons tested positive after defending Gobert just a week prior. With the appearance and rise of this information, most professional sports leagues followed in the NBA’s footsteps.
For starters, the Masters in Golf has now been postponed to a date that has not yet been announced, and in addition the PGA tour itself has been delayed.
Major League Baseball suspended spring training indefinitely hoping they can continue at some point, along with that they have delayed opening day for the upcoming season by at least two weeks. Opening Day though could be pushed back even further depending on how much worse the virus gets.
The NHL also followed the trend suspending their current season like the NBA but they announced as of right now it will only be for the next two weeks.
For tennis, the Australian Open, which is the first major tournament of the season, was postponed to September when it was supposed to be played in May.
Soccer also took a major hit across the globe. Coronavirus forced multiple premier leagues to suspend their seasons, the Copa America has been pushed to 2021 as well as the Euro 2020 tournament, and the MLS is on a 30 day hiatus.
The NCAA did not initially follow in the footsteps for every other league. At first, they had announced that they would continue with their conference tournaments without fans and still have March Madness without fans. Then shortly after the NCAA started to receive a lot of backlash and controversy for this decision because it is so obvious that this pandemic is not something to take lightly. Not even 24 hours after that announcement, they came out again and said that they will be cancelling any future or ongoing conference tournaments, in addition they announced the cancellation of the NCAA tournament.
This was the announcement that truly broke every sports fans’ heart. March Madness is one of the most anticipated events of the year and to see it get shutdown the way it did was simply awful for any fan of sports.
UFC and the NFL are the only two leagues that have not been completely affected by the coronavirus.
Dana White came out during the all the cancellations of the other leagues and basically said that their season and all the fights will proceed as scheduled, just without the attendance of fans. It was said that coaching staff, the refs, and the broadcasters would be the only ones allowed in the arena during the fights.
The National Football League has announced that their off season will go on as it normally would and the highly anticipated NFL draft will not be postponed as of now. The draft will be held without fans though for the first time ever, but rightfully so. Also, the start of their season is still on pace to not be delayed at all which is definitely some good news for fans.
This are not necessarily the right actions that should be being taken by the UFC and NFL, but for now this is how these leagues will continue with the ongoing pandemic, giving fans a glimmer of hope that this will not last all that long for the other sports leagues.
Overall, the right actions and precautions are being taken across the nation when it comes to sports and having to postpone events/seasons. It is very unfortunate but necessary for the time being with how increasingly worse this virus seems to be getting everyday. Sports are being affected all the way from youth leagues to professional leagues and people will just have to hope that things can improve in the coming weeks.