Professional Sports During the Coronavirus


Sports programs across the country have been forced to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After health concerns continued to grow in early March, the effects of COVID-19 started to take a visible toll on American life. In addition to restaurants and businesses, sports programs across the country have also been forced to adjust to the situation. In early March, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Football League (NFL) suspended all games and operations to protect the health of athletes and fans alike.  

After Utah Jazz basketball player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, the NBA immediately delayed the season indefinitely. Since then, many involved with the NBA have rallied together to remedy the effects of a lost season. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, responded by helping workers around the league that depend on a full stadium to earn money for their families. Players such as Zion Williamson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Blake Griffin have pledged thousands of dollars to cover the salaries of concessions workers and maintenance staff at arenas across the country. However, while the NBA season has been suspended, the NBA has recently decided to allow teams to open their practice facilities to players in states where local governments have lessened stay-at-home orders starting as early as May 8. 

After an abrupt end to the NBA season, the MLB decided to follow suit and suspend all operations tentatively until late May, later the suspension was declared indefinite. Together, the MLB and MLB Players Association decided to support their local communities and fans by providing one million dollars to Meals on Wheels and Feeding America, two charities that are dedicated to eliminating hunger due to poverty in the United States. Additionally, all thirty MLB teams have donated a million dollars each to ensure their stadium workers remain safe and stable during these challenging times.

The National Hockey League also suspended their league indefinitely. Until the current sanctions are lifted, professional sports are impossible, even without fans. When asked about the absence of the NHL, Varsity Boys Hockey player Matt Noll ’21 said, “At this time of year we are used to watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs where you get to watch your favorite team battle for up to two months and see guys fighting through countless injuries just to raise the cup which is awesome. It’s weird not to be able to see that now.” 

However, sports teams are striving to push forward and maintain productivity. The NFL draft, a large event held annually in late April, was televised this past weekend without the usual fans or a stage. Instead of holding the draft in a large city with a crowd, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced each team’s selection from the basement of his home in Bronxville, New York, in an effort to provide entertainment for fans across the country.

Players, coaches, and fans look forward to resuming normal activities safely as soon as possible, but in the meantime, many fans can rewatch football games for free on NFL Game Pass until May 31.