NBA and MLS Suspend Seasons Over COVID-19 Concerns

Both the NBA and Major League Soccer have decided to suspend the remainder of their seasons as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. MLS’s decision to suspend the season goes into effect immediately, according to a press release by the league.

A splash shot of a number of NBA players

MLS League Suspension

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” Don Garber, MLS commissioner, told reporters.

“We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

This immediate suspension came as a shock to many fans, and helped to underscore the seriousness of the virus. What some were initially calling a “media overreaction” to the disease seems to have escalated. People have a more serious understanding of the gravity of the scenario. The virus doesn’t just respond to something as simple as flu symptom relief medicine: it can kill you.

NBA Season Suspended

The NBA’s season has also been suspended in light of the viral outbreak. Concerns stemming from Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert, who tested positive for the virus, have led to the suspension. The suspension came minutes before tip-off between the Utah Jazz and the hosting Oklahoma City Thunder. Numerous fans were already in their seats when the news of Gobert’s diagnosis was broken.

This resulted in a sudden suspension of the season. The NBA, in making their decision, shocked fans. No one expected that the disease would grow to be serious enough to merit a full NBA season cancellation.

“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the organization said in a statement.

It’s Rare to Cancel Sporting Events Like This

The US isn’t used to seeing sports leagues postpone or cancel seasons due to concerns over viruses. In the past, most sports leagues’ stoppages have been due to labor disputes between players and the leagues, or, more rarely, wars. Generally speaking, disease outbreaks haven’t been cause for event cancellation like this.

Numerous other sports leagues are still discussing how they plan to address the virus. Some have considered holding the games without fans in the stands. They would simply film the action and air it on television. Others have discussed delaying the seasons until the pandemic has been contained.