In recent days, the coronavirus virus (COVID-19) has become the largest story in both the United States and the world. Though sports are merely a footnote in the grand scheme, heightened discussions have taken place with regard to how leagues and governing bodies should operate moving forward.
Those considerations include everything from publicized changes in media access to the decision to cancel the Ivy League basketball tournament entirely and remove fans from other college basketball sites, including the NCAA Tournament. With that as the backdrop, word broke on Wednesday that the NBA will reportedly be moving forward with games, but they will do so without fans in attendance.
On Wednesday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made news during a hearing in Washington, D.C., indicating plainly that large crowds shouldn’t be gathering, and naming the NBA in response to a direct question.
“We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” Fauci said. “If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it.
From there, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that NBA commissioner Adam Silver is “expected” to follow a consensus that would remove fans from arenas moving forward.
New story filed to ESPN:— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 11, 2020
The NBA’s Board of Governors shared a consensus on Wednesday to continue the season playing games without fans in arenas amid the coronavirus crisis, and Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to move in that direction with a decision on Thursday.
As the report came down, the Hawks were facing off with the Knicks in a game at State Farm Arena with fans in attendance. Atlanta returns to action on Saturday evening and, if this decision indeed happens, the stands will be empty.
Stay tuned as this evolving situation continues.