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Inside The Fraught Return Of Pro Sports Amid The Pandemic

Some professional sports are back, but the fans in the stands aren’t. We’ll look at how the games are being played, and if the seasons can continue.  


Jason Gay, sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal. (@jasongay)

Bill Littlefield, former host of WBUR’s “Only A Game.”

Ben Golliver, NBA reporter at the Washington Post. (@BenGolliver)

Jessica Mendoza, ESPN Analyst. MLB announcer. Olympic softball gold and silver medalist. (@jessmendoza)

From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal: “Quarantine! Fake Fans! Vigilante Justice! Baseball Rumbles Through Opening Week” — “It’s official: Major League Baseball has put a week in the books for its months-delayed, miniature 2020 season.”

Washington Post: “NBA relaunches with a nod to social justice and first official games since March” — “More than four months of waiting, conference calls and negotiations led the NBA to its relaunch Thursday, an understated but dignified showcase that reflected basketball’s ongoing battle with the novel coronavirus and its commitment to social justice advocacy.”

PBS NewsHour: “As NBA resumes play, questions linger about pro sports in a pandemic” — “After a long hiatus forced by coronavirus, the NBA resumes its season Thursday, with the playoffs following close behind.”

Washington Post: “Basketball in the NBA bubble begins on a quiet, made-for-TV stage at Disney” — “Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George drained a pretty buzzer-beater Wednesday afternoon, the type of shot that would have triggered mayhem and sensory overload if he had done it in front of the home crowd at Staples Center.”

NPR: “Philadelphia Phillies Put Brakes On Home Games After Coronavirus Cases” — “A week after Major League Baseball’s pandemic-shortened regular season began, another team is altering its schedule because of positive test results for the coronavirus.”

New York Times: “M.L.B.’s Botched Return Could Be a Warning for the N.F.L.” — “N.F.L., you’re on the clock. Now that nearly every major North American sports league has resumed some form of play, it’s the N.F.L.’s turn to see if it can navigate the coronavirus pandemic as red flags arise at every turn.”

Washington Post: “Ridiculed and alone, Rudy Gobert was the face of coronavirus in sports. Now he’s ready to return.” — “Rudy Gobert sat alone in a Disney World ballroom, putting the finishing touches on a rice bowl after practice.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.