The NBA to the rescue

August 27, 2020

COVID-19 has paralyzed the world. Many countries have issued lockdown orders and forced citizens to stay in their homes. In the USA the lockdowns have crippled businesses across the country. COVID-based restrictions has forced many school districts to adopt virtual learning platforms. The NBA has come to the rescue just when it seemed the wheels were falling off of the wagon called the USA. NBA-led research has created a cost effective way to test for the virus. The NBA also may have saved the day for its partner in sports entertainment, the NFL.

Hats off to the NBA and the NBA Players Association. These two entities worked with Yale University and created a saliva-based cheaper form of testing for the COVID-19 virus. The FDA recently gave its blessing for use of the new test. This is a major coup for the USA and possibly the world. Cheaper, easier testing means people can be diagnosed quicker and get treatment faster.  The NBA and its players have not only helped themselves but the world.

The NBA not only came through with the new COVID test, it came back. Millions of people were moaning because there was no sports on TV. The NBA came up with a plan to keep everyone in one area, Orlando, and came back with a vengeance. I heard one woman say, “God is good. I got to watch an NBA game last night.” I guess He is because the NBA is playing and fans are watching from home. MLB also stepped up to the plate and began playing baseball to empty stadiums, but fans watch the games anyway. In the USA people need their sports and ironically their sports heroes have stepped up to give them their due.

The other sports organization in the USA celebrating the testing breakthrough is the NFL. Football is easily the most popular sport in the USA. The NFL has been constant throughout the COVID pandemic on its stance about the 2020 season. The NFL never officially planned to put the season on hold. The NFL simply adjusted to the crisis by making certain aspects of business virtual and eliminating unnecessary aspects. The NFL Draft was done virtually. NFL preseason games were cancelled. Not once did the NFL create a panic by saying there would be no season. The NFL simply kept saying they planned on going forth. True there were people on all levels of the NFL who questioned this stance about a 2020 season. Yet the NFL kept moving forward. People may laugh but there are many people who need sports in their life. The NFL keeps many people out of the throes of bleak depression.

Everything hasn’t gone smoothly with the return of professional sports. Some players have chosen to opt out and not play in 2020. The NFL has had more than 60 players opt out of the season because of COVID concerns. The NBA and MLB have fared better with lesser numbers of players opting out of the 2020 season. Big name stars like Odell Beckham, Jr., have questioned the rationale behind playing sports while a pandemic rages throughout the land. Others in and outside of sports have voiced similar concerns. Yet, no one in a sane mind can question the impact pro sports has on US society.

I will close with these thoughts. The NBA has a high number of African American players. If the players can work with the league to create a COVID test maybe they can work with the league to clean up the African American community. The team jerseys pointing out social injustice are great. Maybe these African American players can continue to work with the league to make a real change in the African American community. Who knows?

Frank James IV © 2020

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. “Being Frank” is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.

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