Tuesday, March 10, 2020 3:43 PM | CBN
The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS announced in a joint statement Monday that they have decided to temporarily close access to locker rooms and clubhouses for all non-players and non-essential employees in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The leagues reported to make this decision "after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts."
The full statement reads as follows:
"After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.
"These temporary changes will be effective beginning with [Tuesday's] games and practices. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment."
The NBA issued a memo to teams this past Friday, asking them to "prepare to play games without fans if necessary."
Superstar LeBron James didn’t take the statement very well, responding, “We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing, if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.”
The NBA also issued a memo to teams earlier this month that encouraged players to fist-bump their fans as opposed to high-fiving, as well as to "avoid taking items such as pens, balls and jerseys to autograph," as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
The league even stated that interviews should take place in settings other than the locker room with a suggested gap of 6-to-8 feet between reporters and players or interview subjects.
With 650 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US Monday including 26 deaths, such precautions should certainly continue to be taken.
Sources: NBA, Bleacher Report, ESPN