Coronavirus Ravishes the NBA

The Response From the League

When the NBA completed its Bubble in Orlando this past October and reported zero positive Covid-19 tests, many were calling Adam Silver the best commissioner in all of sports.

The NFL and MLB felt the wrath of coronavirus when they decided to forego a Bubble scenario in order to play in home markets. While the MLB went to a semi-bubble format for the postseason, Coronavirus still managed to rear its ugly head. Most notably in game 7 of the World Series with the whole Justin Turner fiasco.

After having the luxury of watching how playing in home markets, and travel logistics has ravished the NFL and MLB, the NBA made the decision to follow suit for their 2020–21 season that tipped off on December 22nd. While playing in a Bubble for an entire NBA season is unrealistic, the NBA still had the ability to improve upon the rules and regulations put in place by the MLB and NFL in terms of player interaction and limiting exposure to this highly contagious virus.

Well, less than a month into the shortened 72 game NBA season, positive Covid-19 tests are running rampant through most of the league. This has caused the NBA to postpone a few games and re-evaluate their policies when it comes to player interaction, mask wearing regulations, and beyond.

On Tuesday, the NBA and NBPA met to discuss the current hardships the league is facing and work on a solution. Some of the changes they came up with include;

  • No hugging or interaction of opposing players on court pre or post game.
  • Reducing social interactions during games such as high-fiving during free throws.
  • Eliminating interaction with non-team guests at road hotels.
  • At home, players and staff must remain at their residence except to attend ‘team-related activities’ at facility or arena, exercise outside, perform essential activities, or the occurrence of extraordinary circumstances.
  • On the road, players and staff cannot leave the hotel except for team activities or emergencies.
  • For a minimum of 2 weeks, pre-game meetings in the locker room are limited to 10 minutes.
  • Masks must be worn on the bench and in the locker room at all times.

** There will be ‘Cool Down’ chairs that will be 12 feet from the bench and 6 feet apart where players can go to cool down without a mask on.**

There is no indication as to the repercussions if any of these rules and regulations are violated, but I would assume a fine would be the obvious conclusion.

Adam Silver and the NBA are doing anything they can to avoid shutting down game operations for two weeks in order to resolve some of the current virus issues. So far, the NBA has avoided any major rescheduling dilemmas. Obviously, the NBA is under different circumstances when it comes to scheduling when compared to the NFL and MLB. The NFL plays once a week which gave them plenty of flexibility when it came to rescheduling games. The MLB was able to avoid any delay in operations by making up games with 7 inning double headers. The NBA does not have that luxury.

Both the MLB and NFL finished as scheduled for the most part. The NBA may see their plans differ from what they had originally anticipated in terms of end date.

It is a very fluid situation in the NBA as of now, and nothing is set in stone. If cases continue to rise around the league, we may see a brief hiatus in order to regain control of the outbreaks before getting back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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