Coronavirus Has Put the Sports World On Lockdown

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Rudy Gobert's positive coronavirus test triggered a rapid chain of events shutting down the sports world.

Raghu C., Editor-In-Chief

On Wednesday, March 11, a game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was abruptly canceled about 10 minutes before tipoff. The postponement came after the Jazz doctor ran on the court to tell the officials that Rudy Gobert, the star center for the Jaz, had tested positive for the COVID-19. 

The NBA swiftly made a statement suspending the regular season. “The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19.  The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled.  The affected player was not in the arena. The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Shockwaves were sent through the basketball universe. Teams bombarded the league with questions regarding both short-term and long-term effects of the hiatus, all of which the NBA said would be answered in a conference call on Thursday.

Overnight, the test results for the rest of the Jazz team started to come in. At approximately 9 AM, it was reported that the star point guard for the Jazz, Donavan Mitchell had the virus.

An hour later, in light of the NBA’s decision, the NHL announced that they too were suspending the regular season. 

And at noon, the MLB decided to delay the start of the season for at least 2 weeks. Spring Training was also suspended. While no player has tested positive for the virus, commissioner Rob Manfred Jr., thought that it was in the league’s best interest to put players’ safety ahead of business. 

 

Another hour later, and the biggest collegiate tournament of the year, March Madness, was canceled. Days earlier, the NCAA announced that no fans would be allowed in the stadiums. 

 

Later that day, Adam Silver went on Inside the NBA to discuss the rapid chain of events that has occurred for the last two days. He said that on Wednesday, the Board of Governors had a conference call to get each team’s opinions and concerns on what to do. They were then set to decide on a course of action the next day. When Silver was heading home, he got the call about Rudy Gobert. Hearing what each team believed was right to do, he made the decision to put the league on hiatus, effective the next day. He also confirmed that the hiatus will at least last 30 days.

All of these announcements are based on the strategy called flatten the curve. By canceling all these events, the rate of transmission is lowered, allowing for hospitals to be able to treat everyone with the necessary equipment, like respirators. 

Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR

This is the same reason why DCIS extended spring break by two weeks. To slow how fast COVID-19 could spread in a 1300 person environment. 

The NFL has not currently postponed the start of the season, with free agency and the draft still occurring according to plan.

For all other sports leagues, there is currently no return date, as it depends on how long the virus will continue. 

While us fans are bored without sports, some other options are the XBA, which is not on hiatus, and following NFL free agency and the draft.