Cautious return of sports

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OVER the long weekend, I saw the Nike ad about the return of sports and the editing, in my opinion, is the best I’ve ever seen.

I’m not surprised that Nike has once again outdid itself. I remember the ad they released after the death of George Floyd about racial equality and social justice wherein the impact was so huge even rival Adidas retweeted it.

European club football, Taiwanese basketball, the Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are either ongoing or have returned.

The English Premier League has just crowned a new king in Liverpool. Real Madrid won its 34th diadem by beating Villareal, 2-0. Taiwanese basketball just concluded its season.

The NBA, MLB and NFL just resumed their season or are about to restart their campaign. All 346 players from 22 teams of the NBA are Covid-19 free as of this writing.

The MLB is struggling with the growing list of players getting infected which may mean an outright cancellation of the season. The NFL is dealing with more players who are opting out of this coming season to protect their families.

More and more professional athletes are choosing to sit out because of the outbreak. Despite having to play in a bubble, I’m assuming MLB and the NFL will have the same set up as the NBA, the players do not want to take any risks.

These professional athletes not just perform superhuman feats of strength, speed and quickness for their respective sports and teams, but they’re also human beings, fathers, brothers and sons.

Most of them are breadwinners and have probably had conversations with their families, having the foresight and preparation for the possibility of no income because they won’t be playing until, at the latest, next year.

Each sport has its own protocols besides the mandated measures being implemented at the state and federal levels. Each league has different needs, so the protocols are different for each professional sport.

Here at home, I see the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams resuming individual workouts in the third week of August. The Philippine Superliga (PSL) restarts its season in October with two new teams.

The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) wars commence in the first quarter of 2021. The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League is looking for a broadcast partner to get its season under way, if and when concerned agencies give them the go-signal to continue playing.

As much as our government is walking on thin ice balancing public health and the economy, leaders of professional leagues across the sporting world are grappling with the health of their players and the economy and sustainability of keeping their respective leagues afloat.

Them walking on eggshells, is the understatement of the year.

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