PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 29
By Leo Haggerty

YOU’RE SAFE, MAYBE

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Well, I covered the fans.  I covered the players.  No one else to deal with, right?

Not so fast, my friends.  We have to take into account the folks who make sure the game is played by the rules.

Yes, we must consider the umpires and referees and linemen.  This is the real fly in the ointment as it applies to the Coronavirus.

When you’re dealing with a majority of the athletes, with the exception of the Tom Brady’s of the sports world who are in their 40’s, they are in their 20’s and 30’s.  They are in prime condition and would have the lowest level of susceptibility to Covid-19.

Now, the guys keeping the action on the up-and-up compose a totally different.  They are older and that would put them in a higher risk category of becoming a victim of the pandemic.

Here’s the bigger problem.  Unlike teams who can replace players, the folks in the striped or blue shirts are a finite group.

You cannot sequester them together because, If one tests positive, you may lose a plethora of officials.  If that occurred, it would have a disruptive effect on the time line that each league has to complete their season or start the next one.

You will have to put them in small groups at different locations.  Just doing that creates a whole new set of circumstances.

Memo to the pro sports leagues.  You need to figure out how to protect the zebras, or whatever nickname you give to the game officials, or you don’t even have a contest.   And that, my loyal readers, the leagues will find out is easier said than done.