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The Ethics of Sports in a Pandemic: Part Two

Should professional teams get exemptions when it comes to practicing?

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL is going to start up sometime in January it seems. As far as we know, no other teams will be playing and no one will be allowed to skate indoors. This is after the ability to play sports has been taken away from recreational players in an effort to lower contacts and have everyone with limited to no outside contacts. But some players will not be with lower contacts. Players with children at school who are with them in Winnipeg will be exposed to their kids everyday and those kids will be around other people all day...

In part one I shared about the reality of one school in Winnipeg within on division in Winnipeg. That reality is not shared by many. Most schools did not have an excess of extra rooms to expand into and the bathroom’s to keep cohort’s 100% separated. Not many places have been so lucky. Students carry the risk of higher exposures especially of asymptomatic carriers and then get the other members of their households sick. Even if players follow all the protocols they are at risk of not only getting sick, but passing it on to others in the organization.

We have seen from the NFL and MLB how hard it is to ensure that no one plays with a positive test and because of that there is always more of a risk there than if players were just at home. And then you have to balance it out with people wanting to work and it becomes a whole lot more complex. But when you are having to rejig conferences so there is no border crossing maybe the league is in an impossible state.

Cities have limited things people can do right now. Until very recently, kids were not supposed to play on outdoor rinks and they still cannot be with someone from a different household even if they are in the same class at school. The rules are changing and sometimes they make no sense because they aren’t being made for public health reasons, but for economy reasons. Let’s just hope the NHL can pull this off safely.