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Has the Coronavirus Humanized the Sports World?

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The sports world has been shut down by the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. Major sports leagues and sporting events have been put on pause due to the outbreak, which so far has infected over 1,600 people in the U.S.

The National Basketball Association suspended its season after a player tested positive with the coronavirus. The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer have also joined the list of groups suspending their seasons. Major League Baseball announced that it would delay its opening day by at least two weeks, canceling its spring training games. 

Sports Illustrated's Robin Lundberg sat down with executive editor and senior writer Jon Wertheim to explore whether the coronavirus has humanized the sports world.

"When our sports heroes—when these idols that we look up to—when they're impacted as well, it does have a different way of humanizing this'," said Wertheim. 

"It's not the same as everyone going to the ballpark and coming together for a common cause. But I do feel like sports has played this role in sort of normalizing all of this," he added.

Robin echoed Wertheim's view.

"In a weird way, it might be bringing us together, because it's so sobering to see sports stop the way it has been," said Lundberg. "People say it's an escape, but you can't escape through sports, which shows you just how real what's going on right now is."

Historically, sports have played a role in uniting people, like after 9/11 or other tragedies. But with the coronavirus outbreak, the opposite is true.

"This is a case where sports are going to make the crisis worse, so it's a very strange situation," said Wertheim.

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