Sports

Coronavirus Brings Pro Sports in D.C. to Standstill

During a nationally televised broadcast game between the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks on March 11, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban visibly recoiled in his courtside seat in disbelief while looking at his phone.

He had just gotten word that the NBA suspended the rest of the season and that he, and his fans, would be watching the last game for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuban openly said that he would like to pay hourly arena workers during the suspension.

“I reached out to the folks at the arena and the folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to financially support people who aren’t going to be able to come to work,” Cuban said. “You know, they get paid by the hour, and this is their source of income.”

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has taken the lives of thousands of people globally. Still, it only took one NBA player testing positive for the virus to bring the sports world to a halt.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus on March 11, and while he was not in the arena, the game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was canceled.

What does that mean for the Washington Wizards?

Since the Jazz played the Wizards on Feb. 29, MedStar medical staff members have advised players to self-quarantine for the better part of a week as a precautionary measure from spreading the virus any further.

“Under the direction of team and MedStar medical staff, the Washington Wizards have advised players, coaches and basketball operations personnel to self-quarantine for the next three to four days,” the Wizards said in an issued statement on March 12. The decision was made with an abundance of caution due to the team’s recent game schedule, which saw them play at Utah on Feb. 29 and against New York (who played Utah on March 4) and March 10.”

As for the Washington Mystics, numerous players are still playing overseas. At the same time, there is a travel ban in place from Europe to the United States until early April, which creates a possible conundrum with the WNBA season just around the corner (April 26) and the draft set for April 17.

However, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said that the league has a “scenario plan” for upcoming events, including the regular season.

The NHL has been postponed until further notice, and the Washington Capitals “will not be playing games until the NHL determines next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Capitals said in a statement on March 12.

The XFL, in the inaugural year of its second iteration as a professional football league, announced that it has canceled the rest of its regular season games, including the final five games for the DC Defenders. The league also said that all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season, and ticket-holders will be refunded.

DC United fans will have to wait 30 days to see the Black and Red play, The Washington Nationals’ opening day game will be pushed back at least two weeks, and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wants his team and staff to take more precautionary measures.

“Due to health and travel concerns surrounding COVID-19, we have informed all of our scouts and coaches that they must return to their home bases and travel will be suspended until further notice,” Snyder said. “The health and safety of our staff and players is our number one priority and we feel that these are the necessary precautions given the current circumstances.”

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