We need sports now

“The American people need sports right now,” New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said yesterday during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I think that’s something most sports fans would agree on at this point.

On the 29th day of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still sheltering in our homes. I spend most of my day in front of my computer. Replays of classic sports are playing on ESPN. The problem is that I already know who won those games.

“That’s typically something that’s really brought us through a lot of tough situations in our country,” Brees said in his interview with Ellen DeGeneres. “People have been able to lean on a lot of sports teams or national teams to just unite them.”

Yesterday, I wrote about how the 1968 Detroit Tigers united a city torn apart by racial strife. We’ve seen sports do this repeatedly through the years. People can forget about their problems and their differences and rally around their team.

When the coronavirus became a pandemic four weeks ago, sports stopped, along with everything else. Now, I need to ask a question that goes beyond the world of sports. Has the solution to the crisis become worse than the virus itself?

No one knows the full impact of what social distancing and isolation has done. The economic, social and above all, human cost of the total shutdown policy can’t be measured yet. But suffice it to say that it has been devastating,

We hear about how the spread of coronavirus creates a curve of the number of people infected. But the economic shutdown is creating a curve of the numbers of people affected, losing their jobs, their homes and their businesses.

At some point, we must say “enough.” It’s time to get back to work, and this includes our professional and amateur athletes. We need to see sporting events being played next month – even if they are played at first in empty stadiums.

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