Hey, we noticed you're in Canada but are currently viewing our US site. Would you like us to take you to the Canadian site, or do you want to stay on the US site?
Picking up what we're putting down? We thought you might be. Sign up for our free 4x-weekly newsletter to get "the gist" of what's going on in the sports world in less than 5 minutes.
Skip to Content

How COVID-19 is impacting the sports world

Football

The GIST: We’re Cady Heron. COVID-19’s Regina George. We wish we didn't have to talk about it, but we do — here’s the latest on how COVID-19 is continuing to impact sports.

December 17, 2021
MINAS PANAGIOTAKIS/GETTY IMAGES
MINAS PANAGIOTAKIS/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: We’re Cady Heron. COVID-19’s Regina George. We wish we didn't have to talk about it, but we do — here’s the latest on how COVID-19 is continuing to impact sports.

Driving the news: After a week of athletes entering COVID-19 protocols and game postponements, the NBA, NFL and NHL have all reported cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

  • In response, leagues are introducing new vaccine mandates (at least for staff) and increased testing. Just yesterday, the NFL placed each team in “intensive protocols” that reinstated mandatory mask wearing, among other restrictions.
  • As for fan attendance, after the Ontario government imposed a 50% capacity limit on sporting events, over in Quebec, the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens closed yesterday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers to fans entirely. And in the U.S.? *crickets*

Potential pauses: With (at least) 18 Cleveland Browns players (including their first and second string quarterbacks) currently in COVID-19 protocols, the NFL Players’ Association is reportedly pushing for tomorrow’s game between the Browns and Las Vegas Raiders to be postponed.

  • Meanwhile, across the pond, some Premier League clubs want games to be suspended until early January in an attempt to quell the surge. You know it’s bad when England’s trying to shut down soccer…

Looking ahead: As discussed in yesterday’s episode of The GIST of It, it’s impossible to predict what comes next, but there are some major sporting events on the horizon that could be impacted.

  • The NFL playoffs are less than a month away, and the league has already altered their postseason roster rules in preparation for potential COVID-19–related absences.
  • And we’d be remiss not to mention a little thing called the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, where athletes from around the world are set to gather in less than 50 days. Omicron, please just get Omi-gone.