A Sunday afternoon game between the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls has been cancelled due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Due to multiple stars being out, Toronto could not field the required eight players necessary for the outing.
This postponement was the NBA’s 34th of the season – and they haven’t even reached the All-Star Break yet.
In response to the league’s announcement regarding the Raptors-Bulls game, Fox Sports broadcaster Colin Cowherd openly mused about something many had brought up over the past couple of weeks: why is the NBA’s COVID-19 handling being treated differently by the media than the NFL’s and MLB’s?
“MLB had brief Covid flair up & some suggested to cancel the season,” he tweeted. “(Absurd overreaction) NFL had a few Covid cases and many media questioned league leadership. NBA just had 34th cancellation. Crickets. Love the association & Adam Silver but … he often feels protected.”
NFL insider Albert Breer agreed with Cowherd’s general sentiment.
“Different circumstances, for sure,” he wrote. “But it does feel like the NFL’s handling of Covid has been better than the post-bubble NBA’s.”
Cowherd then piggybacked off that.
“Listen, this stuff is hard,” he continued. “No doubt. But I thought both MLB and NFL did a tremendous job in non bubble environments. NBA is a little messy right now, frankly. Just feel like it needs to be addressed.”
Obviously comparing the NBA to the NFL and MLB is not apples to apples. The scheduling across the leagues is wildly different, and two of them take place outdoors while one takes place indoors.
That said – differing circumstances doesn’t change the fact that the NBA had its own successful formula for COVID handling, which they were widely praised for, and opted for a far more risky one. And that’s their prerogative. But why won’t the media call it out the way the NFL and MLB was?
“The NFL must rethink its Covid-19 plan to avoid MLB’s errors,” read the headline of one story from earlier this year. “NFL inches toward a COVID-19 catastrophe,” read another. There are dozens more similar in tone readily discoverable with a quick Google or Bing search.
She couldn’t stop throwing up. https://t.co/1LQkLjj2Vz
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 26, 2021
And yet when it comes to the NBA – crickets.
When the NBA was having its big ratings debacle last season, a poll came out describing the deep political divides that currently exist in the sports world. Some bought into those findings, others did not.
But it’s getting increasingly difficult to see the response to the NBA’s inability to handle COVID well and not feel like politics plays some role in it.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.