We love live sports, but they’re not essential

With Florida deeming all sports as “essential businesses,” there might be a higher risk for professional athletes to catch the coronavirus


Pro-wrestlers perform during the Virgil Flynn Production: Legacy 4th anniversary, a live wrestling event, at Cafe Colonel on July 6, 2019. On April 14, the state of Florida declared that all sports, including professional wrestling, are now deemed as essential services, which allows sporting events to resume in the state. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Hayes-Stone)

Earlier this year, the lives of everyone in the world changed with the spread of the coronavirus and every country going under quarantine, keeping nearly everyone at home. Since then, nearly all sports and live events have been put on hold.

However, the state of Florida just declared all sports as essential services, and that includes professional wrestling, on April 14, according to an article published by NBC Sports’s website. 

While I am a huge sports and even wrestling fan, this decision worries me on so many levels.

Not only could Florida’s decision encourage other states in America to mark all sports as essential, it could also encourage college sports to start playing too early as well. I have a good feeling that American River College won’t make the decision to resume all sports under the current conditions, but the state’s choice might convince other colleges that it’s OK to resume play. 

According to worldometer.com, an agency that is tracking COVID-19 numbers, there are more than 1,000,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 60,000 deaths due to the virus in the United States. Many businesses are still closed, and it’s still recommended to practice social distancing. Yet, Florida has decided that it’s a great idea to allow sporting events to continue, which I fear might encourage other states to do the same thing.  

I feel that all of this started with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), as the multi-billion dollar company was the first being listed as an essential business by Florida and then all of sports immediately following after. 

After all the world went into quarantine, the WWE had to cancel all its live shows and instead moved to pre-record shows at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, and even had to pre-record Wresltemania, which is WWE’s biggest show of the year, instead of having it live in front of a crowd. The WWE employees were still trying to go to the Performance Center to tape these shows, including Wrestlemania, ignoring stay at home orders in Florida. 

Broadcasting pre-recorded shows instead of live events hurts the WWE economically, but now with wrestling, along with sports, being deemed as essential in Florida, they won’t have this issue. However, that’s going to create more problems as it now puts the wrestlers at a higher risk of getting COVID-19.

With the WWE going back to doing weekly live shows three times a week, sometimes four when they have a pay-per-view event, this might encourage other sport leagues to do the same thing. Thankfully, it’s looking like if they do this they’ll at least follow WWE’s format of performing with no fans in the arena. 

While I love sports and professional wrestling both, I don’t want them to come back too soon. I thought it was a bad idea already for WWE to still pre-record their shows just because they’re putting wrestlers at risk. If other sports like Major League Baseball (MLB) or the National Hockey League (NHL) came back now as well, I would be worried about the players health being at risk as well.

Despite what teams and athletes I choose to cheer and boo for, everyone is still a human being and I don’t want to see anyone be put at risk to catch this highly contagious virus just because people want to be entertained or are really missing sports. 

I miss watching sports so badly, and I still do watch wrestling every week with its empty arena shows currently because I love professional wrestling and have been a fan of it for 20 years. However, I don’t want to one day wake up and see a news report hearing that my favorite sports athlete was diagnosed with the coronavirus because he had to go do his “essential job”.

I would gladly stop watching live sports and live wrestling if it means my favorite professional athletes are at home, safe, and at lower risk of catching COVID-19. It’s boring without them, but it’s a better sacrifice than having to hear another professional athlete dying young again.