Professional sports in the face of COVID-19

Krissy M. Rardin, Copy Editor

With COVID-19 shaping the functionality of America right now, our pastimes are looking a little different as well. In the case of most professional sports, compromises have been reached. However, this is not enough to please every fan, or player, for that matter.

If you have kept an eye on any professional sporting events lately, it is likely that you are

aware of the noticeable differences this year. Many events were postponed or canceled, and the ones that proceeded on schedule were sadly unoccupied. The lack of fans in the crowd is a bit eerie, even. Despite appearances, it is safe to say that sports fans around the country are still there, supporting their favorite teams from the safety and comfort of home.

Nearly four months after the initial interruption, MLB resumed their season. This was not without incident, unfortunately, as many players and staff assumed the risk of infection from the novel coronavirus. An outbreak within the Miami Marlins caused several games to be canceled, reminding us that we are not out of the woods yet.

The NFL has begun annual training camps much as in years prior, complete with face coverings and social distancing in place. This comes right behind a false positive scare that affected 11 NFL teams. Over 70 individuals received a false positive for COVID-19 in a lab error that was determined to be caused by isolated contamination during test preparation. It has been determined that only three of the 77 reported cases were actually positive, leaving NFL managers and players cautiously optimistic about the start of the season.

The NCAA, however, is more skeptical moving forward. A group of players has issued a list of demands that must be met before they agree to take the field this fall. Safety, as well as economic and social issues, are amongst their concerns.

COVID-19 will undoubtedly lead to changes in all aspects of life, and professional sports will not be unscathed. Many of the traditional aspects of professional sports may be changed forever, but is that such a bad thing? Sports columnist Sally Jenkins doesn’t think so. She believes that certain programs will see losses initially, but that this will serve to cut out the “middlemen,” ultimately strengthening the programs who have the athletes’ best interests at heart.

Liz Clarke, Olympics and tennis reporter, expects the impact to be heavier for the fans than the players. She poses the question of when, if ever, it will be safe to resume large gatherings of spectators? Unfortunately, there is no ready answer in sight at this point in time. We can only hope to see a return to normal in the months ahead. If not, fans may have to resort to forging new traditions to celebrate their sport of choice. At the end of the day, most fans will agree, it is all for the love of the game.

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