The coronavirus is ruining sport. Whether in Italy, China or the United States, sporting bodies are cancelling events because of COVID-19. Either that, or they’re taking measures that seriously damper the usual enjoyment.
And now, with the NBA warning players not to high-five fans, things have taken a turn for the ridiculous. Rather than protecting people and players, the directive to fist-bump rather than high-five will only scare them.
In fact, just as sport normally serves to promote ideals of competitiveness, individualism and fitness, the wave of cancellations and warnings shows that it’s now serving to promote anxiety and fear. Sport has turned from a medium of entertainment into a medium of social control.
On Tuesday, the NBA advised basketball players in a memo not to high-fave fans at matches. Instead, players should use the apparently much safer fist bump. They should also think twice about signing autographs, the memo read.
Working with infectious disease experts, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are providing the following information for players related to the coronavirus outbreak
As far as health warnings go, this may be one of the most useless. Enclosed in a stadium of coughing people, while a large, sweaty ball is shared among as many as 24 players, you won’t have much of an impact on your overall life expectancy if you refrain from high-fiving one or two fans.
Still, the NBA certainly isn’t alone. The coronavirus is gradually working its way through the world’s major leagues and competitions. It seems that the virus has infected pretty much every major sport in the world. So if events aren’t already cancelled, expect them to be.
The Lega Seria A has called off soccer matches in Italy. Not only that, but the Italian government called off all sporting events in the north of Italy until Mar. 8. That said, studies predict the coronavirus pandemic won’t peak until May.
Yesterday, MotoGP called off the Grand Prix in Qatar. Instead of watching people race around on fast motorbikes, fans traveling to Qatar from Italy will now go straight into quarantine. The second race of the season – in Thailand – is also cancelled. Thanks, coronavirus!
Also in Switzerland, organizers of the Engadin ski marathon have cancelled the event.
Organizers of the 2020 World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi postponed its opening round. They’re now looking at a possible new date in late March or April. They hope.
If that wasn’t bad enough, coronavirus has postponed the World Table Tennis Championships in South Korea until June. Ping pong!
All these cancellations and postponements are unnecessary. Given that sporting events can and have been played behind “closed doors,” sporting bodies shouldn’t cancel events outright. This only creates undue fear. At a time when coronavirus is forcing people to sit at home, they could benefit from some live sport to watch on TV.
Indeed, one of the main explanations for this wave of cancellations is that authorities want to scare the general population. The more officials cancel events, the more they cow people into staying at home and behaving themselves. Well, mission accomplished.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
Last modified: June 13, 2020 12:23 AM UTC