NBA Refuses To Basketball From Home, Season Suspended Indefinitely
Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus and now the NBA season is suspended indefinitely. That's not his fault. These things happen in a global pandemic. We can blame Gobert, however, for being a smug jerk about a national health crisis just a couple days earlier.
The NBA had already barred reporters from locker rooms as a necessary health precaution. During a sit-down interview with the press, Gobert answered some questions about sportsbal,l and when he was done, he thought it'd be a gas to rub his hands all over the mics and recording devices. He is only 20 years old and if you can't drink legally, maybe the only way you can entertain yourself is by defying public health guidelines for preventing the spread of illness.
Gobert is young and healthy. The coronavirus isn't a death sentence. It is, however, highly contagious, and people can infect others while appearing asymptomatic, as Gobert did when he groped the mics. NBA players get around, so this impacts more than just his teammates who are now under self-quarantine.
From the Associated Press:
Everyone [Gobert has] been on a plane with in recent days. Or shared a hotel elevator with. Or dined with. Or shook hands with. And so on, and so on."
It's not like Gobert is Typhoid Mary, but he also didn't demonstrate the basic hygiene practices you'd follow when there isn't a pandemic. Arrogance will prove the death of us all. The other day, a reporter asked 85-year-old Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) what precautions he was taking against the coronavirus and he defiantly declared none -- precautions are for losers -- and offered to shake hands. This is what happens when you make Al Bundy president. The stupidity is also contagious.
The entire NBA season is kaput, which, as Andrew Yang tweeted, is a financial burden on "parking attendants, security guards, concession stand workers" and others who rely on hourly wages and tips to survive. The US economy greatly relies on Americans not living the Howard Hughes life.
Coronavirus is curtailing other sporting events. The NCAA college basketball tournament, March Madness, will play to empty stadiums. Massachusetts Hockey canceled all remaining state championship games, along with the regional games scheduled for this weekend. The National Hockey League is expected to suspend its season today, as well. No NHL player is known to have the virus, but the preemptive strike is the wise move. NHL locker rooms have hot and sweaty equipment that are a stank disco for even “normal" flu viruses. Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby was running around with the mumps five years ago.
Major League Baseball looks like it will soldier on, at least as of this very minute. (UPDATE: Looks like spring training is cancelled and the season delayed.) The organization has barred reporters from locker rooms, but it doesn't want teams to play in empty stadiums because it's kinda sad. After Washington Gov. Jay Inslee banned events or gatherings with more than 250 people, the Seattle Mariners started looking for alternative sites. However, other states, like Oregon, have also taken this precaution because it's what every state should do before the first confirmed case. As Gobert demonstrated, people with the coronavirus can look and feel fine during the incubation period and even longer depending on how “mild" the case is.
Pressing pause now might help the nation return to relative normal sooner.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).