Editorial: America needs sports. Let’s see how we can get back to playing safely

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It was going on two months ago — March 11 to be exact — when Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with coronavirus and the NBA shut down until further notice.

The dominoes started falling after that. On March 12, Major League Baseball canceled spring training, the National Hockey League suspended the 2019-20 season, Major League Soccer went on hiatus and college leagues across the country began to shutter sports.

The following day, the Masters was postponed indefinitely and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency that rightly spelled quiet in American stadiums and arenas for the foreseeable future.

All of these decisions were absolutely the right thing to do, and we applaud owners, coaches and athletes who joined the country in a stay home, stay safe movement that has helped us control the spread of the coronavirus.

Now, it is time to explore whether certain sports can begin again, without spectators gathering physically and with the appropriate level of safety for athletes and others who must be present.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that he is talking to teams and leagues about how they can reopen.

Given that the state is moving toward opening businesses that would involve far greater public interaction, it seems reasonable that sports could begin with adequate testing for athletes and distancing in those sports that make that possible. Very careful medical considerations would be needed, obviously. It may not be possible to reopen every sport, and we doubt we’ll see fans in stadiums in the near future.

Still, it is worth considering as we begin the process of reopening. Professional and amateur sports have long been important in America. They’ve long provided a common experience for a national conversation as well as inspiration. They are a shared experience that binds us. The same really can’t be said about “Tiger King.”

Reopening sports is not something to take lightly. But it is possible that, with the proper precautions, it can be done.

We know there can’t be cheering from the stands for a long time to come. But if we can cheer a little from our couches, let’s consider giving it a try.


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