The readers were split, but by a small majority they had a problem with the Gonzaga men’s basketball team choosing to play.
Last week Gonzaga, the state’s most prominent college basketball program and currently ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, traveled to Fort Myers, Florida, for games against Kansas and Auburn. Before the first game against Kansas last Thursday, a member of Gonzaga’s traveling party — not a player or coach — tested positive for COVID-19. Then after the Bulldogs beat No. 6 Kansas 102-90 they had a player test positive.
The next day’s game against Auburn went ahead as scheduled. The player who tested positive, along with one other player who was deemed to have been in close contact, were held out of the game, which the Zags won easily 90-67. After the game Gonzaga coach Mark Few said the team followed the tournament’s COVID-19 protocols.
But should that game have taken place? That’s the question that was posed to readers in this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll.
POLL: Are you OK with the Gonzaga-Auburn men’s basketball game being played after a Gonzaga player tested positive for COVID-19 the previous night? Full context here: https://t.co/Tovdq4lP89
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) November 30, 2020
Add up the votes from the poll posted on the blog and the one posted on Twitter and it’s clear there’s a divide. The majority of voters said the weren’t OK with the game being played, but the margin was just 55% to 45%. So while the “No” vote prevailed, it was far from a landslide.
These results tend to track with how people in the country feel about the coronavirus pandemic as a whole. Polling shows there are differing opinions on the seriousness of the pandemic and whether measures should be taken to combat the spread of the virus, such as staying home, wearing masks, etc. On one side, people point to the fact that as of Thursday the Centers for Disease Control reported that more than 270,000 Americans had died from COVID-19. On the other side people point to the need to reopen the economy and get back to normal lives.
It’s also a question that the sports world continues to grapple with. We’ve seen professional leagues return with and without fans. We’ve seen both college football and college basketball return, but with schedules thrown into disarray as COVID-19 outbreaks among teams forced game cancellations. And teams that play in leagues that are dependent upon gate receipts, such as the WHL’s Everett Silvertips and Minor League Baseball’s Everett AquaSox, have remained shuttered since March.
The good news for Gonzaga is that there hasn’t been evidence of the virus spreading among the team, as the Bulldogs were allowed to travel to Indianapolis, where they topped No. 11 West Virginia 87-82 Wednesday. Edmonds native and King’s High School graduate Corey Kispert scored 19 points as the Bulldogs improved to 3-0.
But there remains disagreement among Herald readers on whether Gonzaga should have three games under its belt, or whether the team should have taken stronger precautions in the wake of its positive tests for COVID-19.