National / Sports / April 16, 2020

How sports are lending a helping hand during COVID-19

When the NBA season put their season on pause after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, the NBA still had games that were played during this time. Gobert testing positive saved numerous other teams and individuals from being infected with the virus. The NBA was going to play without fans instead of just canceling games.

Not only did the scheduled Utah-Oklahoma City game get canceled, but the rest of the NBA season was effectively put on hold. The ripple effect of the NBA putting their season on hold was followed by the MLB and NHL subsequently postponing their seasons as well. Cancellations started operating as a domino effect of sorts. The NBA suspended the season, then the NHL canceled their season, followed by MLB suspending spring training and culminating with the NCAA canceling March Madness.

For sports fans, this cancellation expressed the seriousness of COVID-19. Billionaires don’t like to cancel because cancellations lead to lost revenue. The NBA canceling a season impacts way more people than it does players. The employees that are most affected by these cancellations are the workers who depend on the games that occur throughout the week. The workers who work concessions, maintenance and the aisles are not being paid because of the lack of live events in the arenas.

To combat the workers’ lost revenue, Kevin Love was among one of the players to put up money so that those employees would get paid. Love contributed $100,000 to the workers. From his Instagram, Love wrote that “I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling, and that is why I’m committing $100,000.”

Love has been one of the faces for the NBA off the court. Love has dealt with mental health problems throughout his time in the NBA. He was one of the first NBA players — along with DeMar Derozan — to open up about his struggles. The Cavaliers forward had a panic attack during a game.

Love told Medline Plus magazine, “In that moment, my heart was racing. I couldn’t catch my breath. I thought I was having a heart attack. Even after it was over, I didn’t know that I had had a panic attack. I thought there was something physically wrong with me, and it wasn’t until everything tested out OK physically that I realized there was something else going on that I needed to address.”

After his donation, other players such as Zion Williamson, Giannis Antetokunmpo, and Rudy Gobert also donated. The ripple effect was seen throughout not just the NBA, but also in other leagues.

Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, recently donated 10,000+ masks to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The New England Patriots used their team plane to help transport materials from China back to Massachusetts.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “At 3:38 a.m. Wednesday morning, the New England Patriots’ team plane departed from an unusual locale: Shenzhen, China. On board the Boeing 767, in the cargo hold that used to be home to Tom Brady’s duffel bags, were 1.2 million N95 masks bound for the U.S.

CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers donated $170,000 to the Portland and Canton communities for COVID-19 relief, first reported by Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.

Many more athletes and organizations have also donated to help fight the cause to help hospitals or employees who are out of work now due to the live sports stoppage.

Stephen Curry went live on Instagram with Dr. Fauci, who is the Head of the National Institute of Allergy and Diseases. Curry is using his platform to have an intelligent discussion with a doctor on how best to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Curry’s audience consists of people who classify as Generation Z. The same generation that was out partying and drinking in Miami and Chicago before the stay-at-home orders were put into place.

Marcus Thompson from The Athletic cited a study conducted by morningconsult.com that reported that 49% of millenials get their news from social media. Curry going live on his Instagram with 30 million followers is a big help. The video connected with people if you look at the 444 thousand views that it accumulated on the two-time MVP’s Youtube page.

The NBA has been advocating for their fans to stay home through their social media, specifically through their Instagram. They had players like Danillo Gallinari, Al Horford, Jaren Jackson Jr, and many others give messages to the fans on the NBA’s official Instagram to stay home and recognize the danger of this disease.

In addition to using their Instagram, the NBA has also used its NBA Cares website with information about the virus itself.

Whenever I see the stories reported about people from the sports world, I always think about when Laura Ingraham told Kevin Durant and LeBron James to “Shut up and Dribble.”

Ingraham said, “It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” she said. “Keep the political comments to yourselves. … Shut up and dribble.”

Her comments are very ignorant. She’s saying that the opinions of Kevin Durant and LeBron James are insignificant because they bounce a ball when every day we listen to a former reality star masquerade as the president.

Imagine if LeBron — or other people in sports — listened to what Ingraham said. Imagine if these athletes and owners stayed out of the COVID-19 crisis and didn’t lend a helping hand. The money and resources they’re using are critical at a time when we need all of the help we can get. It’s times like these that make you glad that people in the sports world don’t just ‘shut up and dribble’ or stick to sports.

 

Kyle Williams
Sports Editor

Tags:  COVID-19 kevin durant lebron james mental health NBA

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