Column: Playing Through the Hard Times

COVID cases in professional sports

Empty+seats+at+49ers+Levi+Stadium+during+the+2020+season+%28Jeff+Chiu%2FAP%29

Empty seats at 49ers Levi Stadium during the 2020 season (Jeff Chiu/AP)

In March of 2020, the world as we once knew it changed forever as a pandemic swarmed the nation. Professional sports leagues all around the world locked down, and most postponed or cancelled their seasons. However, most if not all professional American sports leagues have revived their seasons. Most going about their ways to stay safe from the virus setting up bubbles and going through many precautions for game time. Although the sports world has been revived, and with COVID cases in the country rising, the deadly virus has caused many problems for many professional leagues. 

According to the Center of Disease Control,14 million people in the US alone have been victimized by the deadly virus, and 280,000 have died from it. Sure, bringing sports back has brought some light to our lives as we have something to watch on TV like a Monday or Thursday night football game, or even a championship game. But, with COVID cases rising, many sports leagues have prepared for the inevitable as small outbreaks have occurred and TV revenue for professional sports plummeting.

In leagues like the NFL, containing COVID has become a problem as multiple teams have shut down their facilities in the past over COVID-19 outbreaks on their teams. Forcing teams to not practice and get but merely to stay in front of a camera on Zoom and stay away from practicing and getting ready for game day. Not only that, but more COVID cases have also meant more injuries because practices are so limited. So far as the NFL season goes into its final week’s of the regular season, 15 NFL players have gone down with Achilles tears which ends their season. Along with that, the NFL is laying down hard penalties for teams that fail to follow protocols which shows just how serious the cases have gotten. At the end of November, the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots were fined for allegedly breaking COVID-19 protocol. The Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens were also fined along with the Las Vegas Raiders who were hit the hardest as they lost a draft pick as punishment for breaking protocol.

However, although cases have been on the rise in most states, most leagues have prepared for the long run in case this virus sticks around for the start of a new season. The NBA is proposing that all teams play each other once and division rivals twice, and the season before they set up a playoff bubble in which in case the virus is still around come the playoffs will happen again. The bubble system was used again for the 2020 MLB postseason where the World Series took place in Arlington Texas at Globe Life Field. Limited capacity with fans and daily COVID testing of the players made the World Series not only a safe event, but a successful one as the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first World Series in 32 years.

Overall, despite sports leagues doing whatever they can to shine some light on a somewhat dark and gloomy world, the COVID crisis can not be ignored. Sports leagues must do whatever they can to keep themselves safe as well as keep their fans safe.