NBA Suspends The Season: Should Others Follow Suit?

Brandon Breeland

The NBA season has been suspended indefinitely after Rudy Gobert, a player for the Utah Jazz, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday’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,” said the league in a press release Wednesday.

The Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game in Oklahoma City was promptly postponed and players from both teams are being quarantined in the Chesapeake Energy Arena until they have been cleared, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The final game that was expected to be played Wednesday, the New Orleans Pelicans versus the Sacramento Kings, was also suspended due to a referee planned to work the game having previously worked the Utah Jazz-Toronto Raptors game on Monday.

The move leaves the NHL weighing its options for the future of its own season according to their own press release on Wednesday, while the MLB has yet to announce official word regarding the rest of 2020’s spring training and the start of the 2020 regular season.

“The NHL is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options. We expect to have a further update tomorrow,” the league wrote in their press release.

This comes after a flurry of moves by city and state government officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington barring public events larger than 250 people, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed prohibiting events of 1,000 people or more in an effort to protect the public from COVID-19, directly affecting sporting events in those two areas.

Locally, the CCCAA have already announced that their basketball playoff tournaments will be played without fans, of which COS basketball is included. Other COS sports have yet to announce their plans for handling the potential spread of COVID-19, and there have been no confirmed cases in Tulare County.

As cases continue to increase throughout the country, obviously public health should be the top priority, but it will clearly come at some cost, and with COVID-19’s low mortality rate thus far, is it ultimately worth it?

While the idea of playing without fans felt a little extreme, an entire league suspending its season to protect the public from the spread of the virus is certainly bold. It will cost the league presumably millions of dollars, but the NBA has been clear many times through Adam Silver’s tenure as commissioner that sometimes, the money doesn’t matter.

This is one of those times.

The NBA is once again on the forefront of protecting its players, and they should be commended for their efforts to commit to public and player safety. What will happen to the jobs lost during the meantime is yet to be determined, and while it’s important those people get compensated, the health of everyone involved is clearly on the forefront of the league’s mind, and rightfully so.

As the cost of coronavirus continues to climb in multiple ways, we’ll continue to see how the sports industry reacts to the pandemic and how the other leagues will react. Only time will tell.