It has been quite a while since sports were being played live on TV. Normally, the MLB season would be in its second month and the NBA playoffs would be starting in 3 days. Instead, the players and the rest of the world remain at home waiting to hear when life can go back to “normal.” There’s only a certain number of times one can keep watching replays of old games that we have already seen.
The NBA season has been suspended since March 12. The decision to suspend the NBA season was made shortly after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Many questions have arisen since the suspension was put in place. Will the season be canceled? If play resumes, will fans be allowed to attend? Those questions have not been answered yet, but what is known is what would happen if the NBA ever returns. According to ESPN, if the season were to resume, one idea is to have a 25-day plan which includes 11 days of individual workouts.
“What they’re looking at is a 25-day return to basketball window. Hopefully, at some point, they can enact it,” ESPN sportswriter Brian Windhorst said. “An 11-day series of individual workouts, where there’d be social distancing for a period of time, and then hopefully, if the clearance comes that they can play five-on-five basketball, a 14-day training camp.”
The expectation is that if play resumes for any professional sport it will most likely be without fans in an empty arena. The fact that there are plans being discussed for the chance that play does resume is exciting. On April 4, President Donald Trump held a conference call with owners from the professional sports leagues in the United States and expressed his hope that the NFL regular season will start on time.
Anthony Fauci, an advisor to Trump and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke on April 15 about the possibility of sports coming back in the summer. Fauci reinforced how the country is deprived of sports that have given many citizens joy throughout their lives, for it suddenly to be on hold due to unforeseen circumstances.
“There’s a way of doing that… Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled and have them tested every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.” Fauci said on Snapchat.
The present inability to quickly and efficiently provide COVID-19 testing to players, coaches, arena and stadium workers, television and radio staff and countless others will inhibit any live sports activity before fans attending games is even a remote possibility.
In the interim, while all sports continue to be suspended, fans are able to look forward to the highly anticipated upcoming Michael Jordan documentary about the 1997-98 Bulls Championship. “The Last Dance” will air Sunday, April 19. In addition, the 2020 NFL draft will proceed as scheduled on April 23-25 and will be held as a virtual event for the first time.