By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
The United States is currently under seize by the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic which has spread across the globe. This has impacted our lives in the US more than most people anticipated. So much so that most of our professional leagues has abruptly suspended their season’s as this country tries to find out how best to manage this crisis.
According to the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible that a person can get COVID-19 from people who are in close contact, 6 feet or closer, with each other. Or through the production of respiratory droplets from when an infected person coughs or sneezes and said droplets are inhaled into the lungs or have landed in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Additionally, ways to spread the virus can be by touching objects or surfaces which have the virus on it and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Due to the nature of competitive sports, there are many opportunities for this virus to spread among athletes. The collection of people that convene at any particular venue to attend and enjoy various sporting events has become another potential breeding ground for this COVID-19. Understanding this tenuous situation, NBA Governors gave serious consideration to playing games without the fans in the Arena. As of this Thursday, March 12, the Golden State Warriors were slated to do just that.
As the Utah Jazz was sent to take on the OKC Thunder, Rudy Gobert was removed from the court and told said to be being tested. Hours later Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz was also tested and diagnosed with Coronavirus. The NBA then had little choice to suspension their season, indefinitely, when this information was revealed. Days later Detroit Piston Christian Wood was also diagnosed with this infectious virus.
In the same week, the NCAA was amidst their conference tournaments that feed their annual Tournament that captures the hearts and minds of basketball fans from major cities to the smallest towns in the country. However, once the NBA Suspended their game the NCAA also ended their season and canceled their tournament for the season due to the rampant growth of this virus. Just as did Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the Premier Boxing Champions as well as other combat sports leagues.
An unintended consequence of the suspension of these leagues and competitions, specifically in the NBA, is the reduction in hours for the arena employees. The support staff at these arenas include nearly 1500 ushers, cooks, security guards and other hourly workers which assist in the production of these events. In the spirit of giving back and supporting those which support them at their respective arenas, some players have offered to assist with the funding for these essential employees.
The always thoughtful Cleveland Cavalier Forward Kevin Love has chosen to partner with Cavaliers Governor Dan Gilbert, through @KevinLoveFund and has committed $100,000 to provide funding and support to the Rocket Mortgage Field House event staff. In his typical thoughtfulness, Love has
requested some advice on coping strategies for those who may be justifiably stressed and worried about the impact coronavirus from UCLA’s Dr. Craske and she recommended these steps for us all;
1. Normalize this. We are all experiencing increased anxiety and worry. Sometimes worry can fuel and motivate you but recognize that what you are feeling is completely normal.
2. Don’t stay plugged in 24/7. Limit the sources coming to your phone and TV. You don’t need updates every few minutes. Check the news one or two times a day, and use that trusted information and act upon it when needed.
3. Stay healthy. Feed your body, feed your mind. Stock up on nutritious food. Drink water. Exercise as best as you can. And find a time each day to calm your mind, whether through meditation, or just slow-breathing exercises.
4. Stay connected with your family and friends, even if remotely. Don’t isolate and suffer alone. When you’re feeling anxious and worried, it’s better to be connected. Days before being tested for the Coronavirus virus, Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert, facetiously joked with the media by touching their mic and cell phones in his pre-game press conference. Not only has he apologized for his untimely joke, but Gobert has also decided to donate $500,000 to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent NBA season suspension.
$200,000 of Gobert’s pledged donation will go to Utah Jazz arena workers who were scheduled to work NBA games at Vivint Smart Home Arena. He plans to donate $100,000 to families in Utah and Oklahoma affected by this virus, in addition to donating 100,000 Euros to assist families in his home country of France.
The League’s reigning Most Valuable Player, and the front runner to win this year’s award, Giannis Antetokounmpo followed suit by agreeing to donated $100,000 to the event staff at Fiserv Forum. He posted on Twitter, ”I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier.” It’s admirable that a player at the height of his individual success finds to time consider the thoughts and needs of those less fortunate than he is.
The league’s most recent #1 draft pick Zion Williamson has also chosen to assist those essentials staff members at Smoothie King Arena, the home New Orleans Pelicans while acknowledging that many of them are still recovering from the challenges Katrina created. He stated in his post on Instagram, “This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis.”
When the NBA decided to suspend its season, long time Governor of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban was the first to commit to assisting the event staff of the American Airlines Center. Cuba told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, “we have to be smart in how we respond. This is people’s lives at stakes. This isn’t about basketball; this isn’t about the Mavericks. This isn’t about when do we start, do we start? Or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people’s lives are at stake.” After consulting with arena employees Mark has agreed to “pay the arena employees as if they were working,” for the next four scheduled games.
With Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles being the headquarters to the Clippers, Kings and the Lakers they employee 2800 hourly employees that will be impacted by the leagues shut down due to the Coronavirus. These local organizations have partnered together to create a fund that would provide compensation for those employees scheduled to work during the suspended events at Staples. This union to assist the essential employees, that make their events what have they are, is just as unprecedented as the pandemic infested the country. Each of these men listed was commended by former President Barack Obama for “setting a good example for the during a challenging time.” I will add that, all these actions from the players are further evidence of what’s good in sports. Kindly share your thoughts on the generosity of these players with us by simply commenting in the comment section of this article on www.whatsgoodinsports.com or by following me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport for immediate engagement. Additionally, subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on most podcasting platforms, Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, we certainly appreciate you for making our voice your choice!