Inslee: Cancelling Sporting Events Over Virus is a “Possibility”
Some say it's being prudent to consider this option, others say it's just fueling the 'chicken little' mentality being taken by some over the Coronavirus.
KIRO Radio in Seattle reports that Gov. Inslee and state officials have not completely ruled out the possibility of canceling major sporting events over the Coronavirus.
In an interview on KIRO Radio Wednesday with interviewer Dori Monson, Inslee said the following:
"We are starting to consider that and have been now for some period of time. So what we are doing is evaluating the legal requirements that are involved in making a decision like that and we are socializing people to the possibility of that.
“… It would be a hierarchy of things – the first thing would be to legally prohibit gatherings over a certain number. That can be done by the emergency powers by the governor in statute. To talk about things that are not necessary in our lives, meaning entertainment and sports and political gatherings, I suppose, that are not intrinsic to our economy or our education. … This is something that’s under consideration and we’re going to make the right decision at the right time.” (KIRO RADIO).
Initially, the big event(s) that jump to the front is the 7 game season opening homestand for the Seattle Mariners beginning March 26th. Mariners officials released a statement that read as follows, partly in response to Inslee's words:
“The health and well-being of our fans and employees is our top priority,” the statement reads. “We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with local public health authorities. Right now, local public health officials are not advising the postponement or cancellation of public events. We fully expect to play baseball at T-Mobile Park beginning March 26."
It's one thing to cancel a 'local' or smaller public school game or event, but when Major League Baseball or other sports such as the Western Hockey League (WHL--Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips) are involved, state officials need to tread lightly.
If you read the Mariner's statement, it comes across as strongly-worded, with intent to play and move forward.
Critics say you don't just cancel major events without financial repercussions. The only sporting events cancelled so far were a pair of games scheduled for Wednesday for the Seattle University men's and women's basketball teams. The Redhawks, who play hoops at the Division I level (part of the Western Athletic Conference-WAC) were to have played Chicago State and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
HOWEVER, the decision to cancel came from those teams, not Seattle U. CSU and UMKC chose not to travel to Seattle due to concerns over the virus situation.