From Europe to the United States, massive outbreaks of positive COVID-19 cases have ravaged lockers room from all major sports around the world. It started with several English Premier League soccer games being postponed last week. The NFL was affected with 3 games being moved to Monday and Tuesday respectively. Now the first stoppage, if only for a few days.
The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to suspend operations from Dec. 22-25, with team facilities reopening no earlier than 2 p.m. local time on Dec. 26, it was announced in a joint statement. The decision extends the holiday break from three to five days.
According to a statement released by the NHL and NHLPA, December 23, 24 and 25 will be off days. "Players will report to their Clubs on Dec. 26 for testing, practice and/or travel only. Upon return from the Holiday Break to team facilities, no individual in the team's Traveling Party shall enter the facility until they have a negative test result. Any practice scheduled for Dec. 26 must begin after 2:00 p.m. local time."
Prior to this announcement, 44 games had been postponed as a result of a surge in players being placed in the COVID-19 protocol. The league they had postponed cross-border games (US & Canada) through Dec. 23.
All four games scheduled for Wednesday had already been postponed. Ten of the 15 games scheduled for Thursday had also previously been postponed, before the already scheduled off days on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Dec. 26. Action is scheduled to resume with 14 games on Dec. 27.
The NHL and NHLPA also announced that players who had been selected to their national teams for the upcoming Beijing Olympics in February will no longer be participating.
The NBA is dealing with their own issues, with many star players scheduled to participate in the league's all-important Christmas Day slate, out with positive test results. In an interview with ESPN, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "We have no plans right now to pause the season. We looked at the options and, quite frankly, we're struggling to come up with the logic to pause. With the way the virus is being transmitted around the world, it's become obvious we're going to have to learn to live with it."
During the beginning of the pandemic, we had no sports. It was a tough time for many people who use sports as an outlet. I for one welcome having sports on my TV, so my fanatic friends and I don't have to resort to watching Korean Baseball at 2 am ET on ESPN, because it was literally the only live sport around during that time.
But at what cost? Even though the majority of athletes in the top 4 sports leagues in the US are vaccinated, the players themselves are at risk. Which league has it right? Was the NHL right to pause for a few days? Are the NBA and NFL correct in continuing to roll on with their seasons, dealing with the virus as it comes? Let me know what you think in the comments section.