Sports Can Wait: Our Lives Are More Valuable

(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

By: Zachary Draves

There seems to be a concerted effort among a select few politicians, commissioners, coaches, and media personalities to want to get sports back into our lives at the expense of our health and safety.

Politicians such as the Florida Governor Ron Desantis and a certain someone in the White House.

Commissioners such as Rob Manfred of the MLB, Dana White of the UFC, and Vince McMahon of the WWE.

Coaches such as Oklahoma State Football Coach Mike Gundy and Clemson Football Coach Dabo Sweeney.

Media personalities such as perpetual adolescent trapped in an adult body, Clay Travis (look up his 2017 appearance on CNN).

What this unique group has in common is that they are embracing the dangerous notion that as long as we get athletes back on the field and court as quickly as we can and compromise their health and well-being, the quicker we can take it to the bank.

In other words, I got mine and the hell with everyone else.

This strategy goes against every guideline and provision that the top public health officials have advised us to practice to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There is no timeline to when we can re-open the country as much as we would like for that to happen.

The reality is that COVID-19 is setting the timeline and the best thing we can do, as hard and as strenuous as it is, is for us to continue social distancing and follow the advice of medical and public health experts.

That includes avoiding large gatherings such as sporting events.

We all know this country loves sports, almost to a problematic extent.

I understand why there are those who miss wanting to turn on the TV and watch a game or have the privilege to go to a game and to get that pure joy out of experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

I get it. However, that shouldn’t come at the expense of our health and the health of others, especially when there is still so much we don’t know about this virus and there is a complete lack of cohesive action and gross mismanagement coming from the federal government.

Furthermore, if we are going to talk about the state of sports during this pandemic, then why don’t we address what is going on in the lives of athletes.

Let’s see athletes as human beings for once, who are capable of vulnerability, love, hurt, compassion, sadness, empathy, fear, integrity, resilience, etc.

Let’s embrace them for taking the necessary precautions just like everyone else.

Stop reducing them to their salaries and endorsements.

Give Kevin Love his props for speaking on the importance of mental and emotional health during this time.

Shoutout Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson, and other NBA players for giving their money to support the financial well-being of stadium workers who were dismissed by the franchise owners.

Salute the work of Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs for his foundation’s efforts to support nurses.

Praise the $100,000 contribution of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to support the ATL.

Admire the outspokenness of Jeremy Lin, Katelyn Ohashi, Taylor Rapp, Natalie Chou, and other Asian American athletes who are using their platforms to speak out against the rise in xenophobia, hate, and violence towards the Asian community during this time.

There are countless examples of an athlete using this time to be of assistance to those on the frontlines and who are the most vulnerable.

In addition, I would encourage everyone to read articles on The Player’s Tribune of athletes who are speaking about the importance of being at home with their loved ones and get pure enjoyment out of doing everyday little things.

Patrick Chung of the New England Patriots

Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm

We have to stop reducing athletes to what they do physically.

We have to stop reducing athletes on how much money they make.

We have to stop using athletes for our own selfishness.

When are we going to start humanizing athletes?

This pandemic should give us time to reevaluate our relationship with sports.

At the end of the day, our love of the game shouldn’t override the overall health and safety of everybody else.

The concept of patience is a virtue actually has some virtue.

Zachary Draves
About Zachary Draves 115 Articles
Violence Prevention Educator, Activist, MSW Aurora University, Adjunct Professor of Social Justice and Civic Engagement at Dominican University, Aspiring Filmmaker, Alliance for Social Workers in Sports, You Can Play Project Ambassador, Co-Founder of West Chicago Suburbs Chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Co-Founder of Racial and Gender Justice in Sports Project, Organizing White Men For Collective Liberation (OWMCL), Organizer Athletes and Advocates for Social Justice

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