By Evan Fleischer
As the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak increasingly spreads throughout the globe, almost all worldwide industries are being put to a halt. The steps being taken to prevent the spread of disease are, in return, causing many issues in a variety of professional fields. Specifically, the cancellations and modifications of sporting events have had one of the most significant impacts on the world.
The first professional league to announce their discontinuation was the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Utah Jazz was scheduled to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the night of March 11th, yet an official meeting that took place moments before tipoff resulted in the postponement of the game. The NBA teams and the full house of fans were soon informed that the event was postponed until further notice. Fans fled the stadium, booing the officials as they left. This controversial decision was made as a result of Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, testing positive for Coronavirus prior to the game. This event caused the suspension of all NBA games through the remainder of the season. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) faces a similar situation as their 2020 season, which was scheduled to start on May 15th, was postponed until further notice. Yet, the WNBA plans to hold their draft virtually, with no fans or players present, on April 17th.
The NBA, WNBA, and multiple other organizations have not announced full cancellation but instead temporary postponement of planned events. The National Hockey League (NHL), professional soccer leagues, and world boxing leagues have all suspended their upcoming events. While most worldwide golfing events have either been canceled or suspended, the 2020 Masters Tournament is rescheduled for Nov 12th-15th.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the largest sporting event that is currently facing this issue of COVID-19. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and IOC president, Thomas Bach, came to an agreement that the Tokyo Olympics will be rescheduled and start on July 23, 2021. Bach goes on to discuss these new dates stating, “… the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.” Hopes are high for the upcoming Olympics which could mark an end to the frustration that the world now faces. Yet, Olympic qualifying matches for several sports such as boxing and ice hockey have been suspended, leaving a large portion of the Olympic events unorganized and undecided.
As the sporting world is currently at an unpredictable stop, the only thing that can tell the outcome of this issue is time. Many organizations are still undecided on whether their scheduled events will take place or if they will be canceled. The pandemic will eventually see its end, and the world of sports will be able to return to its glory.
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