The coronavirus has shut down businesses, schools, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and SPORTS. However, we might be getting to see one of those things come back. In the sports world there might be a chance to see our favorite athletes play sooner than we expected. This is all because Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis has classified sports as an “essential service”. To justify his decision he stated, “sports are deemed essential because they are ‘critical to the state’s economy” (Epstein). Since this pandemic is still occurring there are still precautions that need to be taken and regulations that need to be met. For starters all the athletes participating need to be tested and medically cleared to play. In addition to this the gym they are playing in must only contain the media crew, coaches, and athletes (Carlin). This recent news has sparked conversations in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), National Basketball League (NBA), and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
When the news that sports could resume in Florida the WWE was the first to hop on moving their fights there. Luckily, WWE has a production facility in Orlando and resumed its live shows as soon as possible. They recently aired their first live show on the 13th of this month (Epstein). Also, the President of the UFC is working with WWE to figure out the best way to resume their fights again. As of now, the earliest fight for the UFC is looking to be May 9th.
The MLB was supposed to start games in late March, but they have been postponed until a later month. However, they did consider splitting their regular-season games between the spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona (Epstein). This idea was rejected because this would unfairly allow some teams to have more practice than others. Additionally, Arizona does not consider sports an essential event.
The NFL season has not yet started and is not scheduled to start until September. However, the decision made in Florida might be able to bring back a preseason. The NFL is currently conducting a “virtual offseason” which includes this year’s draft (Epstein). However, since the season is a few months away they are waiting to figure out what happens with the virus. The NBA has canceled the rest of the regular season. However, there is a discussion of whether the playoffs are going to happen or not (Carlin). Additionally, both the NBA and NFL are streaming classic games including playoffs on youtube.
As an avid sports fan this news brings some hope that sports events are resuming sooner than expected. On another hand, this does raise a lot of red flags. The United States still does not have control over the virus, so if we reintroduce sports events it could cause the virus to spread more. While these events will have precautions and regulations to keep spectators safe, false negatives from the traveling athletes and media personnel could put the whole event at risk. Also, there are confounding factors that are hard to control. A majority of the athletes would have to travel by car or plane. This may be difficult considering that the athletes live all over the country. There’s a chance someone with coronavirus could be on the flight, and if an athlete catches it, and you can not completely control who the athletes interact with. These types of events break the social distancing rule which is putting people at risk. No matter how many precautions are taken there is no way of completely eliminating the chance of contracting the virus.
I feel that sports events should wait longer to resume because as a country we need to understand more about the virus. As the number of infected individuals increases, a vaccine is necessary. I feel like the WWE and UFC are more controllable because there are fewer people involved in the overall production. With the MLB and NFL I think there is more room for things to go wrong. They made a good decision by pushing back the games and canceling preseason events.