National Basketball Association to limit locker room access to battle virus
- Author: Lawrence Cooper Mar 11, 2020,
Mar 11, 2020, 0:26
All NBA, MLB, MLS and National Hockey League team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open to only players and essential employees until further notice because of the coronavirus.
But the move prompted the NBA's biggest star, LeBron James, to say he would not play if his Los Angeles Lakers had to hold games behind closed doors.
The decision to limit access to locker room and clubhouse access will also go into effect in the NBA, NHL and MLS.
The league said it was "regularly conveying" guidance from medical experts and government agencies to players and staff on best practices and travel recommendations.
The NBA is among the professional sports leagues that will temporarily eliminate locker room access for non-essential personnel, including members of the media, amid growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are continuing to monitor developments and will adjust as necessary".
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As of Monday afternoon, the coronavirus worldwide death total was close to 4,000 with 26 deaths in the United States, according to USA Today. Major League Baseball said its actions were "taken out of an abundance of caution for the best interests of all". "We understand precautions may be necessary in the name of public health".
After a conference call with the 30 big-league clubs, Major League Baseball said it recognized the fluidity of the situation, but intends to play all spring training games and regular season games as scheduled. Clubs will be expected to provide best efforts in facilitating usual media coverage and access to uniformed personnel and team officials in these alternate settings.
The North American sports landscape has undergone rapid change regarding media access as the coronavirus spreads throughout the continent.
The media would have to stay six to eight feet away for availability sessions outside the locker room.
The decision to keep the locker-rooms and clubhouses to "essential" employees comes days after the National Basketball Association sent out a memo claiming games could be fan-less due to the coronavirus scare.