LeBron James was asked last week about the possibility of playing games without fans. LeBron answered definitively that he would not play in an empty arena. A short time later it came out that the NBA and was advising its teams to prepare for just such a situation. On Tuesday, LeBron was asked again about playing without fans and has since changed his tune.
This is good and bad. It's good that LeBron understands the severity of the situation at hand and the possibility that there could be games played in empty arenas. Besides, he'd still be playing for the same people, they'd just be watching on television.
The bad news is that this means somebody probably got in his ear and explained that this is a very real possibility. The Indian Wells Masters, a major tennis tournament in California, was just canceled at the last minute. The Ivy League canceled their conference tournament. Experts are encouraging leagues to play games in empty stadiums if not outright cancel them. Italy is in a nationwide lockdown.
LeBron's somber about-face could be sign of things to come. The way that our sports leagues react to this is going to be the way that many Americans are going to have to face this issue. Other, less easily convinced people might soon be asked to face the reality of this pandemic, through sports or something much closer to home. Hopefully, this is all an overreaction. If it isn't, then empty arenas are going to be the least of our worries.