Coronavirus Impacts Athletes, Fans, and Arena Workers Alike
The coronavirus has now consumed all of our lives. With most schools and restaurants closed and hundreds of millions of people having to stay home, the joy of live sporting events has been taken away from fans all around the world.
Until March 11, the NBA season was going as planned, and fans still attended games. That day the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz were scheduled to play. Right before tip-off, the game was unexpectedly postponed, and analyst Adrian Worjanoski tweeted that a player on the Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19. Within minutes, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the season indefinitely.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was in disbelief in an interview with ESPN. “This is crazy, it can’t be true. It seems more like out of a movie,” Cuban said. “It’s not about basketball or money, if it’s to the point where it is right now, you think about your family.”
Within hours, major professional leagues such as MLS and the NHL suspended play for at least six weeks. “In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, the MLS is postponing all matches at this time,” the MLS said in a statement.
The ripple effect of the NBA’s season suspension was felt at the college level too. For example, the NCAA canceled its premier basketball tournament, March Madness, after it originally planned to host the tournament with only essential staff and family in attendance.
Another effect that the coronavirus has had on sports is that arena workers out of jobs. Many players have vowed to give money away, with Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to be diagnosed with COVID-19, donating $500,000 to help the arena workers, along with fellow players like Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Zion Williamson of New Orleans Pelicans.
“These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization,” Williamson said in an Instagram post. “This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people.”
While COVID-19 is shutting down sports across the world, there is still hope. The NBA is trying to create a charity game to entertain the fans and are talking about returning as well. While the circumstances might be grim, the NBA and other leagues are trying to find hope in a bad situation.