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A request to athletes to join the maskerade

We the people ask a lot of athletes. Even when sidelined for COVID-19 precautions sports airwaves were back-to-back-to-back questions of “when will they come back?” and “what are they waiting for?” often without concern to how the virus might affect them as well as their families.

As the U.S. sees alarming increases in positive coronavirus cases at a time we hoped things would be better, not only do we want athletes back on the field, but we look to them for much more. We’ve been cooped up, looking nervously at our screens, probably even out our windows for any kind of guidance about how to deal with a raging virus. Now sports are restarting and lots of us hope they can help us out of our ruts. But while we hate to further impose, we need more from professional athletes, and it comes from a place of desperation.

The Center for Disease Control’s suggests that wearing face coverings in public may be the best way we can stem the COVID-19 spread until a vaccine is available. In the absence of national leadership and with due respect to Charles Barkley, America needs athletes to be role models when it comes to wearing masks. The public needs to see them, along with coaches and support personnel, wear masks with pride and purpose and encourage others that this simple act makes a difference.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Tom Haudricourt, shows off an addition to his press box wardrobe.

We’re hours away from the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season and when the NBA picks up where it left off. Leagues will have the undivided attention of a sports-starved nation. Adults and children will see athletes and coaches in dugouts and on benches, hopefully masked up.

Batter up, mask up! ⚾️

🏀 Ally oops, don’t forget your mask on your way out the door! 

Tell fans who watch you play how cool it is to take a small but important step to keep your teammates safe.

Professional sports leagues have moved boulders to make games happen again in 2020. If this works and leagues make it through their modified seasons without major COVID breakouts, it’s possible sports will set an example for the rest of America. And it wouldn’t be the first time. 

Let’s follow what seems to be working and see athletes as our guides. Hopefully they’ll lend their voices, maybe with the help of sponsors, to get the word out that wearing masks is responsible, not political. As Dr. Anthony Fauci warms up to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s world champion Nationals opener against the Yankees, invite fans to post videos about how they’re wearing masks and helping their neighbors stem COVID’s spread. They can even create a contest and offer masks to the most team-colored neighborhood. It’s a golden opportunity to talk to old fans and invite new ones into teams’ community bubbles.

Join the cool club and cover up. It’s an opportunity for athletes, whom we’ve longed to see back in action, connect and protect. 


©Gail Sideman; 2020

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