This damn Coronavirus. It's sucking all the fun out of everything. We can't travel. We're not supposed to shake hands anymore. Kiss kissing goodbye.
And, ya know, people have died. And more will die.
Pretty much every major, nationally televised sport is taking a break at this point. The entirety of the NCAA basketball tournament — both men and women — is canceled. Major League Baseball is pushing things back. MLS is taking a break, having just gotten started. NASCAR is racing without fans.
It's the prudent course of action, and it certainly was not an easy one to take.
Here's just a smattering of the news coming out amid the spread of COVID-19:
From the NCAA:
Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men's and women's 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.
"At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events."
National Hockey League
From the NHL:
"In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight's games.
"The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures. However, following last night's news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus — and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point — it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.
"We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy."
National Basketball Association
From the NBA:
The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, Wednesday's game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.
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.
Major League Soccer
From the MLS:
Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.
At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.
"Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "We'd like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time."
Obviously, that's not good. And on the much lighter side of things, it's tempting for folks to say that there's no longer anything on TV, now that sports are shutting down longer than most of us can remember.
But that's simply not true. There's still more on TV than ever before. More original content. More specials. More networks and services than ever before.
The final season of Westworld kicks off this Sunday on HBO, and undoubtedly it's going to mess with our heads some more.
Devs is available on FX on Hulu. I have absolutely no idea where it's going, either — but it's already one hell of a trippy ride.
Netflix still has more content than you could ever watch.
Amazon Prime Video is the same — more new stuff in March to go along with the vast catalog of movies.
And that's to say nothing of all the movies and shows on all the other services Disney+ is still a thing. HBO Max is coming.
We'll miss sports. We'll think of all the folks who won't be going to work during the shutdown. And we'll continue to worry about those who have contracted the novel Coronavirus.
And, yes, we'll continue to argue over the trivial. We'll watch The Batchelor and Love Island and Below Deck. We'll watch the news. We'll fight about politics.
And when our favorite professional sports teams make it back onto the field and the court, we'll be there — both in person, and on TV.
In the meantime, we'll just have to see what else is on.
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