Editor's Note

by Jayden Personnat

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“What we really need to do is cancel 2020,” LeBron James tweeted after the NBA suspended the rest of the season. LeBron's wish came true; the COVID-19 pandemic has practically canceled 2020. Schools and stores have been forced to shut their doors. Health officials continue to repeat the now-famous words: “stay at home.” The once teeming streets of our capitals are now filled with “closed” store signs instead of crowded cars. Sports was one of the first and most prominent industries to succumb to the coronavirus. One by one, the NBA, MLB, EPL, NCAA, and more announced the suspensions of their seasons. The disease has impacted all people and has failed to discriminate the wealthy team owner from the young ball boy.

This issue of The Benchwarmer focuses on how the outbreak has affected athletes on the high school, collegiate, and professional levels as well as non-athletes such as arena workers and team personnel. Several articles also analyze potential scenarios and situations in which sports may return in a post coronavirus world.

In recent weeks, many people have posed the question: why continue to discuss sports in this time of crisis? Why are we talking about when the sports leagues will return when thousands of people are dying in overcrowded hospitals to a disease without a cure or vaccine? They say sports should be the least of our concerns. Fair point. However, we need to consider what a canceled sports season means for the world.

If we take account of all the athletes, referees, broadcasters, arena employees, coaches, team managers, and staff, we will find that this industry employs millions of people in the world. Professional sports bring billions of dollars to their country’s economy each year.

Unlike other workers, sports employees do not have the option to work from home. They do not have the luxury of completing the same work at home that they would at the office. With an inability to work, their employers can justify the reduction of these people’s salaries. In sports, there are millions of people who live from paycheck-to-paycheck, struggle to pay their rent or provide food for their families. These people cannot afford to lose their jobs. As you read this issue, remember that for some, sports is not just for their entertainment, it is their livelihood.