Coronavirus. Caronavirus. Caronavirus. It is all we’ve been hearing about these past few weeks. People are being extra extra careful about who they are in contact with and caring around their supply of hand-sanitizer. Many events and festivals are being canceled so no one can contract the virus in large crowds. Google shared that their employees will work from home until further notice while others have decided to take this time to use up their vacation days. Even talkshows and TV game shows are no longer allowing live audience during filming. So naturally, sports teams are following suit.
The Washington Wizards announced Monday evening that the media will no longer be able to enter the player’s locker room.
Before the coronavirus spread, before and after each game the media is allowed to speak with players. This is a time to get what happened during the game from their perspective in their own words. Sometimes these sounds bites are very serious, hilarious or even straight to the point dry but the media is there to give fans access that many people do not have. When rumors started up that there would no longer be fans at the games, many media members wondered, “Will we still have access?”
Prior to tonight’s Wizards vs Knicks game, Thomas Bryant spoke to a few media members in the press room where Coach Scott Brooks does his press conferences. “Reminds of when I was in college” referring to the new format of having players speak from the podium instead of the media surrounding him with mics and cameras in the locker room. See the difference with the photos below…
While sitting at the podium, Beal states with a big smile on his face “Honestly, it feels like I’m in the playoffs right now” and reassures that he is still playing to get the team into the postseason. In reference to fans not being allowed at games beal shared at a previous game that he remembers playing in games with just his mother in the crowd cheering for him but he admits it would be weird. I mean can you imagine watching NBA games without a crowd, without screams, just empty seats. LeBron James says he just won’t play but has changed his mind since then.
According to ESPN, The Warriors have announced that they will play without fans in the crowd.
Nothing has changed for the fans here in D.C. as of now. Fans are still allowed to come and interact with the players but the media has limits. I spoke with a couple of my fellow wizards’ media members, some wanted to keep their comments to themselves so they won’t lose their jobs but Candace Buckner of the Washington Post simply told me, “It sucks”. We’re all hoping that there will be a cure for this virus. No one wants to hear of another death and no one wants more activities they love to be taken away.
If last night was the last game the wizards played in front of their home crowd this season at least we got a show. The Wizards started off strong with a 13 to 4 lead but blew that and it wasn’t looking pretty going into the half. But then Beal turned it on and scored 20 points in the 3rd quarter tieing the game 87 to 87 before the 4th quarter. The Wizards came together and pulled out a victory, beating the Knicks 122-115!