Athletes across all professional leagues are in varying degrees of limbo as the coronavirus strain leaves sports on an indefinite hiatus.
COVID-19 hasn’t profoundly impacted the NFL, which is just beginning to enter the heart of its offseason. For now, the league is juggling how to handle its marquee offseason events, such as the upcoming draft, amid calls to limit large public gatherings.
But the NBA, NHL and MLS had to suspended their regular seasons in the midst of the playoff push for the former two and the early part of the schedule for the latter. MLB has already moved back the start of its regular season.
Where does that leave professional athletes? In terms of collecting paychecks, here’s where things stand across the major pro sports leagues.
Amid news that Opening Day will be delayed at least into May, MLB and the MLB Players Association are still negotiating some of the salary-related details for the weeks to come.
The MLBPA informed players that, upon leaving their spring training facilities, they will receive a living allowance of $1,100 per week from the union through at least April 9 — with the belief that teams will then begin to pick up expenses. This arrangement applies only to players on a 40-man roster, and non-roster invitees who finished the 2019 season on a 40-man roster or injured list.
But a lot of uncertainty remains. As San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham recently told USA TODAY Sports: “I don’t know if any of us will get paid.”
NBA players have still received their typical salaries during the league’s ongoing hiatus, but there is a caveat.
The league’s collective bargaining agreement, like most contracts of that magnitude, contains a clause about the ramifications of a “force majeure event” — something entirely out of the NBA’s control, like a global pandemic, that would allow owners to withhold a portion of players’ salaries.