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Professional Sports’ Comeback Gains Momentum, But For Some Leagues Cautiously : NPR

Kevin Harvick gets out of his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race on Sunday.

Brynn Anderson/AP

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Kevin Harvick gets out of his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race on Sunday.

Brynn Anderson/AP

The trickle of a pro sports comeback in this country is starting to happen, following widespread shutdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak.

NASCAR returned this past weekend. Mixed Martial Arts did the same earlier this month. Now the governors of two hard hit states — California and New York — are endorsing a return to professional play.

“Pro sports,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, “in that first week or so of June, without spectators, and modifications, and very prescriptive conditions, can begin to move forward.”

There is a definite feeling of momentum for a sports restart. Fans have been hearing about potential reopening scenarios for baseball and basketball in particular.

But with the coronavirus still spreading, is there a need for caution?

Too many cases

If you ask Emory University epidemiologist Zach Binney, the short answer is yes.

“The truth is, in the U.S. right now, we still have a high burden of cases,” says Binney, who also writes and consults about sports injuries and athlete health. “It varies from area to area, but overall, we have a lot of sick people. That’s a problem [in professional sports], because it increases the likelihood of somebody in a league getting infected and then spreading it around the league, where you may be in sustained close contact with a lot of other folks. Teammates and people on other teams if you play in a contact sport.”

Another significant factor is testing for the coronavirus. There still isn’t enough in the U.S. and Binney says there needs to be more so sports leagues can, in good conscience, do the kind of rigorous screening they need to.

“If the general population and even first responders and health care workers don’t have the tests they need,” Binney says, “then it would raise severe ethical questions for a pro sports team to be testing their folks on a daily basis.”

NASCAR, for one is getting around this by not testing.

The return to stock car racing, at the famed Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, was notable for its numerous safety precautions. There were no fans in the grandstand and the number of support people at the track was limited.

But there wasn’t on-site testing. NASCAR officials said they were being sensitive to the country’s test shortage.

“These tests remain in short supply,” John Bobo, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations, said late last month. “Getting results can take two to three days. Really those tests should be targeted for people most in need.”

Still, the lack of testing might’ve increased the risk for those at the race.

Violations and a promise to be better

At the UFC event in Jacksonville, Fla., earlier this month, there also were rigorous health and safety measures in place. Including testing. But there were violations of those measures, even after a fighter and two of his cornermen tested positive for the coronavirus and were removed from the event. Rules required social distancing, no touching or face-to-face post-match interviews. But after fighter Justin Gaethje slugged his way to victory, TV interviewer Joe Rogan stood next to him and shook one of Gaethje’s blood hands, saying “I don’t care.”

Asked about the violations, UFC president Dana White promised to “be better.”

Other leagues, plotting their returns, hope to avoid problems like these from the outset.

Recognizing an uncertain path

Last week, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred described MLB’s enormous set of proposed safety measures.

“They’re extraordinarily detailed,” Manfred told CNN. “They cover everything from how the players will travel, [flying] private charters, how those charters have to be cleaned; who has access to the ballpark, strict limits on number of people; tiering of employees so even those people who are in the ballpark will be isolated in general from the players. So we’ll hope that we’ll be able to convince them that it’s safe.”

It’s a daunting task to get this all ready for a projected June spring training and July start to the regular season. But epidemiologist Zach Binney thinks baseball, the NBA, pro hockey and soccer could return this summer. With restart plans that acknowledge the virus’s uncertain path.

“As long as you recognize that any plans that you’re making are provisional and you’re not completely locking yourself in and saying this is going to happen,” Binney says, “then I have absolutely no problem with anybody doing any planning.”

Money is part of the planning too.

Athletes in all sports face pay cuts in these interrupted seasons. Baseball players know it’s a bad look to squabble over finances right now with so many people hurting economically. But many players say owner’s proposed cuts are too much, especially if the athletes potentially are putting their health on the line by playing during a pandemic. Tampa Bay pitcher and 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell gave voice to player concerns on his Twitch Channel.

“I’m sorry if you guys think differently,” Snell said, “but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I make is way lower, why would I think about doing that? So, in my head, I’m preparing for next season.”

To reopen or not

Leagues are not saying that, at this point, but most do face a tough choice in the coming weeks.

To reopen, or not.

Rob Manfred says if this season is permanently scuttled, baseball’s losses would approach $4 billion.

The financial cost across sports would be enormous. There’s an emotional cost too for fans.

“Sports for me are very much how I tell time,” says Sara Ziegler, sports editor for FiveThirtyEight. And right now is the time when pro hockey and basketball playoffs normally would be at full throttle.

“One of the sad things [would be] not seeing conclusions of some special seasons,” Ziegler says. “[NBA star] Lebron [James] making another run. Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and the [Milwaukee] Bucks having such a great year. It won’t look like that in the record books if we can’t finish it out.”

Every plan to restart play ultimately is at the mercy of the coronavirus and the country’s ability to bring it under control.

States are reopening and governors are speaking hopefully about pro sports coming back to keep us entertained.

But most sports leagues still have to weigh the possible consequences of a comeback so many want, but that can’t be too soon.

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Gateway Pundit News

‘When Did Flattening The Curve Turn Into Finding The Cure?! Barstool Sports Founder’s Spectacular Tirade ON COVID-19

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy went on a blastastic rant on Wednesday, ripping state governors for locking down Americans and asking some brilliant questions along the way — like “When did flattening the curve turn into finding the cure?!”

In his three-and-a-half minute profanity-laced tirade, Portnoy said government officials are going about it all wrong in trying to keep every single person from catching the coronavirus, which kills mostly the elderly and unhealthy.

“What the f*ck is going on?” Portnoy says at the beginning of the video, which has more than 7 million views. “When did this become, ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘flatten the curve,’ to ‘we have to find a cure or everyone is gonna die?’ ”

“Like, [Dr. Anthony] Fauci, seems like a nice enough dude, I was always like, this guy has no agenda …  [He] gets in front of the Senate, he’s like, we’re reopening the country too fast everyone’s dead. Where’d that come from? And the L.A. mayor, we’re not opening the city until we find a cure? What? Find a cure? Who says we’re gonna find a cure? We haven’t have a cure to cancer, it took AIDS 20 years or whatever, do we even have a cure? So, the economy is just shut down?

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“All we ever heard, for forever, was, ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘make sure there’s hospital beds.’ We’re there!” said. “Now all of a sudden, it’s like a 180. That’s like taking a cross-country flight, six hours. Five hours and a half go by, they get on the intercom and they’re like, ‘Oh, just kidding, we have another 10 hours.’ You can’t do that! People have been mentally preparing, we’re doing what you ask. We’ve done exactly like you said, now you’re changing the rules.”

“And what about people who own businesses?” Portnoy said. “You can’t say closed indefinitely. Imagine working for a year, five years, ten years, two decades, grinding your fingers to the bone to build your businesses — Barstool, thank God, will be alright — I’m talking about other businesses. People who have jobs and have worked their whole f*cking lives to put food on the table and create a happy living.

They’re just gonna go out of business? They’re just gonna’ wake up whenever this thing ends, when the mayors say them they can go back to work? Work to what? Your company is gonna’ be out of business, the economy is gonna be in the sh*tter, there’s gonna be no jobs, how the f*ck are you gonna’ pay for your family, put food on the table, all that sh*t? What are you doing? You gotta’ give these people a choice.”

“If you told me, because of corona, I lost Barstool, I had to get a nine-to-five and start f*cking over, I’d rather die of corona, seriously, or at least take my chances,” Portnoy said. “I’m not saying everyone would do that. I would. But if I’ve dedicated 20 years of my life, I don’t wanna start over. I’ll f*cking deal with corona. You can’t just make everybody stay inside and basically start over. It’s insane. Like, what the f*ck do they think is gonna’ happen?”

“At some level, we’ve done what you asked us to do,” he said in closing. “If you’re that scared of corona, stay inside. … There’s risk. We’re Americans, you have to take risks. If people want to go out, they can go out; if they wanna’ stay in, they stay in.”


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Gateway Pundit News

PLAY BALL! Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to “Reopen Major Sports”

As Florida has begun moving towards the second phase of removing restrictions on citizens and business owners, Govenor Ron DeSantis announced yesterday that the Sunshine State will allow major sports teams to resume practice and play as long as guidelines are followed.

“All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee. “What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida.”

ESPN noted that Florida was the second state to make this move, following Arizona Governor Doug Ducey similar decision. We reported last week that DeSantis was allowing salons and barbershops to reopen. DeSantis has been praised for being sensible and safe with an aggressive approach to returning to normal in Florida.All the while, Democrats have finally said what most have thought about their intentions to continue the lockdown past the 2020 elections in an effort to stymie President Trump’s election chances.

Florida politics is also reporting that DeSantis’ “phase two” plans include the reopening of bars, restaurants, gyms, and even schools.

Gov. DeSantis: Florida ready for Phase Two reopening

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Coindesk News

Surveying the Carnage: Movies, Sports and Education in Crisis

As the COVID-19 crisis grows, some industries will recover quickly, but some won’t recover at all. In this episode we help you understand which is which.

This is the second in a series of episodes on how the economic crisis is challenging and transforming different industries. NLW looks at:

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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News RT

Follow the action with RT Sport’s rolling updates as the UFC returns to action in Jacksonville (VIDEO) — RT Sport News

It’s been nearly two months since the last UFC show, but now the biggest MMA promotion is back with a stacked card and a world title double-header at the top of the bill. Follow our live updates throughout the night.

It’s been a rocky road to get here, but we finally have live fights back on our screens as the UFC stages the first sports event to be held in the United States since the coronavirus forced America to shut down two months ago.

Now the UFC is back in business with a stacked fight card, and you can follow the action with us right here at RT Sport.

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