Sports leagues are in serious trouble

Over the past few weeks and months, COVID-19 has pushed the sports world to a breaking point with players going into the now infamous health and safety protocol left and right. Games are being postponed, fans are being told to stay home, and emergency replacement players are even being signed.

It’s getting ugly, and the problem is no one can afford to absorb any more shut downs. Every league, some more then others mind you, is still recovering from the 202o hiatus that shut down the NBA and NHL seasons and postponed the start of the MLB an NFL.

There’s a lot of money at stake because of each league’s television contracts.

This time around, they only have one option; plough through it no matter what. Make no mistake though, this is hitting everyone, and I mean everyone. In the NHL just had to shut down for four days because all the postponements were getting out of hand. Before the shut down, 29 games have been postponed involving 22 teams including Vancouver, who has five players in COVID-19 protocol.

The NBA postponed seven games in the past week and a half, including a Toronto home game against Orlando. Speaking of the Raptors, they have seven of their 12 players in isolation for who knows how long. It’s gotten so bad in the NBA that the league put in place an emergency replacement clause, opening up roster spots to allow teams to bring in players on short term contracts.

Who are the replacement players, you ask? Well, retired players trying to make a comeback, journeymen semi-pros in minor leagues, heck I wouldn’t be surprised if a team grabs the in-arena hot dog vendor and throws him a jersey at this point. If you have a pulse an NBA team could probably use you right now.

The NFL is at the very end of its season, so there’s no time for postponements because if one thing is for sure, the Super Bowl date won’t be changed. There’s just no way because of the aforementioned television deals.

To make up postponed games the league is desperately scrambling right now, rescheduling games to Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. American football is on every night nowadays.

All three leagues have been exploring making testing a weekly thing as opposed to daily. Most of the players except for a select few across the leagues are vaccinated, so the risk of severe symptoms is much less. The argument is, well, if they’re a-symptomatic and vaccinated then why are we testing every single day.

The players unions are standing firm though, and insist that player safety comes first.

This issue will likely not end soon, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of shut downs happen at some point, maybe not for football, but the NBA and NHL seasons are in real danger right now. As I said at the top, the leagues have been pushed to a breaking point, and it’s only a matter of time.

What a strange time to be a sports fan.

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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
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