Jul. 29, 2020
Was bringing back sports a mistake?
COVID-19 put the entire world on pause earlier this year.
The pandemic hit the U.S hard with 4.4 million confirmed cases and 151K confirmed deaths, thus putting the entire sports world at a standstill.
The first domino fell on March 11 when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first professional athlete to test positive for COVID and the NBA suspended it's season as a result. It was reported that Gobert's immature and careless actions led to his teammate Donovan Mitchell contracting the virus as well.
The highly-anticipated yearly NCAA Tournament was cancelled the next day due to the pandemic, MLB and NHL also suspended their seasons on March 12.
Fall and winter collegiate sports are still up in the air, as well as the upcoming NFL season in September. After much deliberating professional sports is back with special safety protocols. The NBA announced that the season will resume on July 30, MLB resumed their season on July 23 and the NHL will continue on August 1st.
Many major professional sports states, such as California, Texas, Arizona and Florida have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic in the wake of sports resuming, but was it a good idea?
Personally I don't think so. The country is still failing to recover from the ongoing pandemic, and I don't see any protocol that can keep not only players but staff and personnel safe while playing full-on contact sports. Social distancing is virtually impossible in a locker room or in huddles, especially in football, basketball and hockey where you are in personal contact with other players all the time.
The Miami Marlins announced that they have 17 positive cases within the organization and had to cancel games this week as a result. Earlier this month the Oklahoma Sooners football program announced that they had 14 players on the team that tested positive. The NBA and NFL have both had multiple players that have tested positive for COVID and the cases are steadily rising.
Upon arrival to the NBA bubble in Orlando, they tested all 322 players and 19 tested positive. Many players have opted to not participate in the return of pro sports, and I'm not opposed to it either.
Players have kids, families and other obligations in life, and in my opinion they can't risk it all on the uncertainty that these leagues are giving. To me it's strictly a money move to recoup the hundreds of millions of dollars that the NBA, MLB and NHL have lost during the pandemic due to suspended seasons. Star NFL players have called out commissioner Roger Goodell for not giving the league a safe plan to return to action.
95 NFL players in total have tested positive for the virus and Goodell seems to go into the season with blinders on. Six players on the New England Patriots have opted out of the upcoming season, bringing the total number of opt-out players in the NFL to 17.
The NBA has 10 players that have opted out of the resumed season, and MLB has a total of 14 players that won't return.
There are a lot of people that have been craving sports and are looking forward to the return of it and players are anticipating getting back to action, but due to players leaving training camps back and forth for various reasons and violating bubble rules it seems like the COVID issue in sports won't be going away any time soon.