Rant: Time out on the return of sports? Plus today’s first headlines.

Rant: Time out on the return of sports? Plus today’s first headlines.

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RANT OF THE DAY: “Upon further review . . .”

Keep a sharp eye on your sports feeds in coming days — even if you don’t like what you’re about to read. Or hear.

What got our attention was something from Monday’s Golic & Wingo on ESPNRadio that quoted longtime baseball writer Buster Olney as predicting there’s a 5 percent chance the shortened Major League Baseball season will even begin — and a zero percent chance of any post-season play. That followed another analyst, this one from basketball, predicting much better chances, at least as the return to the courts begins.

So what else have we seen and heard — all from reputable news and sports media?

  • Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals says no thanks to Major League Baseball’s shortened season, which technically starts with training camps on Wednesday. At least one other Nats’ player has joined him.
  • Other MLB teams are reporting players and coaches who have tested positive, including Minnesota.
  • And as our colleague John McClellan points out, the most recent extension of social distancing and other pubic health protocols by Georgia’s governor overlaps with the first weekend of high school football scrimmages. We imagine they’ll find a way to properly social distance to comply but it will be tough.
  • And should we worry that Fulton County Schools has opted to delay its start of the new year by a full week — so far.
  • High schools in Gwinnett County also report four coronavirus cases — we hear a mix of players and coaches — and the Georgia High School Association again is reminding schools to report positive virus tests.
  • On Monday, we saw the first official report that a football conference — the storied Ivy League — was thinking of switching football to spring.
  • Some college football teams already are canceling nonconference games.
  • At Clemson, 37 players, coaches and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. That follows the report from LSU.
  • In Alabama, the loss of The Tide could cost the state more than $2 billion. A study from 2015-16 concluded Tuscaloosa alone could see $25 million in game-weekend revenue vanish with each game canceled.
  • Some NBA players are skeptical of the season set to resume, including a lifestyle in the Disney bubble throughout the run.

Now those are all sports headlines. Add in the latest news reports about the surge in new coronavirus cases in hot spots across the South and elsewhere — and the dire reminder that we’re still in the first wave, not the feared second wave.

So who do we blame? We see it as a rushing penalty. Too many governors, Georgia’s included, preached the need to reopen our state. On Monday, Brian Kemp extended the state’s public health emergency until Aug. 11. That includes much-less stringent social distancing rules as well. He’s busy taking selfies with him wearing a mask and urging Georgians to do the same. That’s way short of what other governors are doing — ordering masks if you’re in public.

By now, you’ve seen that popular meme on Facebook: “Want to watch college football this fall? Wear your mask.”

It might be too little, too late. Now we have to see what this latest sweep of the virus does to high school, college and pro sports. The only call to make: Protect the athletes and the fans.

And a final note: Before blasting us with the usual “more negativity” Facebook posts about the potential loss of fall sports, consider two things:

  • Those in the sports world who are too busy hyping the return of their teams to see the bigger stories in front of them — that is, a surge in positive tests within their teams and communities.
  • And no. 2, a basic question: Got mask?

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