NBA to players: Limit contact with fans amid coronavirus

Reuters/Field Level Media

Posted at Mar 04 2020 12:30 AM

NBA to players: Limit contact with fans amid coronavirus 1
Fans wear masks as they receive a Paul George bobblehead when they enter Staples Center for a game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Management has placed sanitizing stations throughout the building due to the recent coronavirus situation. Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has advised players to limit contact with fans as a precaution as cases of the coronavirus are appearing in the United States.

The league is recommending players "utilize fist-bumps over high-fives with fans," ESPN reported. The league also advised players not to touch anything passed by fans for autographs, such as pens and jerseys, the report added.

"The health and safety of our employees, teams, players and fans is paramount," the NBA said in a statement issued Monday. "We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely."

Guard CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers already tweeted that he was suspending signing autographs. He made his announcement on Saturday after a coronavirus case had been confirmed in Oregon.

ESPN also reported that team front offices are worried about the effect the virus will have on workouts and scouting before June's draft, adding that efforts to scout players based overseas could be "limited in scope."

The Chinese Basketball Association suspended play Feb. 1 over fears over the coronavirus. The outbreak started in China in December and 3,100 people have died -- more than 2,900 in China. Globally, more than 90,000 have been infected, CNN reported Tuesday.