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Pro sports leagues like the NBA and MLB will restrict locker room access indefinitely to combat coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread, US professional sports...

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 8:16 AM

As the coronavirus continues to spread, US professional sports leagues have taken steps to protect athletes and staff.

The NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL and Major League Soccer released a joint statement Monday saying all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open to only "players and essential employees" beginning Tuesday and until further notice.

"Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting," the statement read.

The leagues said they consulted with health experts and considered issues "that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings."

The locker room restrictions come as over 700 cases of coronavirus have been identified across the US, according to the state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 26 people have died in the US.

NBA wanted teams to play without fans

Prior to Monday's announcement, the NBA had been giving advice to players to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Last week, the league advised players to restrict physical contact with fans as a precaution to limit potential exposure, according to a league memo obtained by CNN.

The memo suggested players "fist bump" fans in lieu of a "high-five" and avoid items handed to them by fans for autographs like pens, markers, balls or jerseys.

The league on Saturday asked teams to to begin making contingency plans if they have to play games without anyone in attendance.

Only the league office will decide if a game will be played without fans, media, and/or other typical game attendees.

Los Angeles Lakers all-star forward LeBron James said after the Lakers' game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday that he wouldn't play in an empty arena.

"If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing," James said.

College basketball players ask NCAA to consider games without fans

The National College Players Association (NCPA) has asked the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to consider having its men's and women's basketball tournaments with no crowds in the arenas due to coronavirus fears.

The NCPA also called for the NCAA to cancel events where players would be in contact with crowds, citing Google and Amazon canceling events or having employees work from home.

In response to the request, the NCAA said it is monitoring developments with the coronavirus outbreak.

"NCAA staff continues to prepare for all NCAA winter and spring championships, but we are keenly aware of coronavirus and will continue to monitor in coordination with state/local health authorities and the CDC," NCAA spokesman Greg Johnson said in a statement.

The NCAA men's basketball tournament starts with the First Four on March 17. The women's tournament starts March 20.

The women's Final Four semifinals will be April 3, and the national championship game will be April 5 in New Orleans. The men's Final Four semifinals will be April 4 and the national championship game will be April 6 in Atlanta.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 160380

Reported Deaths: 2713
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 251774

Reported Deaths: 3207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby36855568
Davidson32175341
Knox1295692
Rutherford12143115
Hamilton11952110
Williamson723556
Sumner6230112
Wilson478560
Putnam449957
Montgomery427558
Out of TN417134
Madison385180
Sullivan384648
Bradley364123
Washington361553
Sevier340823
Maury340738
Blount340436
Robertson264044
Hamblen249548
Tipton240623
Unassigned23306
Dyer228535
Gibson219249
Coffee194326
Hardeman190933
Greene182154
Obion181123
Trousdale17778
Bedford175320
Anderson172714
Dickson172219
Fayette170825
McMinn167337
Lawrence166520
Loudon165311
Cumberland162327
Wayne16067
Carter159834
Weakley157926
Jefferson157522
Monroe148629
Warren146110
Lauderdale145117
Henderson142626
Hardin141622
Macon135725
Roane13467
Franklin130522
Haywood130528
Hawkins123225
Overton123218
White120014
Johnson11667
Carroll115826
Marshall115611
McNairy114428
Rhea113018
Cocke109714
Cheatham107912
Campbell104412
Bledsoe10264
Smith100514
Lake9883
Giles98636
Fentress92611
Lincoln9253
Crockett87620
Hickman81015
Henry80912
Marion79410
DeKalb75117
Chester73515
Decatur66711
Grainger6174
Grundy57811
Union5493
Claiborne5346
Polk52713
Jackson4596
Humphreys4574
Unicoi4453
Morgan4447
Cannon4272
Benton4269
Houston42517
Lewis4225
Clay41015
Scott3945
Sequatchie3572
Stewart33811
Meigs3306
Perry3295
Pickett2769
Moore2712
Van Buren2102
Hancock1213

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