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‘Be positive’: How Boston athletes are reacting to coronavirus and suspended seasons

Players are also sharing techniques for overcoming boredom.

The TD Garden has gone quiet amid coronavirus cancellations. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

With all of Boston’s sports teams shut down amid coronavirus concerns, the city’s athletes have taken to social media to share everything from pleas for prevention to ways they’re conquering boredom.

Tacko Fall and Semi Ojeleye urged fans to practice social distancing in a series of videos posted to the team’s Twitter account, hours after Gov. Charlie Baker announced the banning of gatherings of more than 25 people in addition to school and restaurant closings.

The NBA was the first professional league to announce its suspension amid coronavirus concerns.

“It’s very important not to panic,” Fall said. “But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take all the precautions necessary to keep this in check. It’s our responsibility to stop the spread of this virus.”


“It’s really not about us anymore,” Ojeleye said. “The only way for us to fight this virus that’s affecting everybody’s life is by staying away from each other, by social distancing, by listening to the experts. Right now, the more of us that buy into that, the quicker we’ll get back to what we had.

“You may not be sick, but you don’t want somebody else to get sick because of you or be the one that transmits this virus to somebody else.”

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was the star of a similar message posted to the Bruins’ Twitter account Sunday.

“Hopefully everyone is safe and healthy,” he said. “Right now, there are more important things [than hockey].”

The NHL paused its season Thursday.

Brad Marchand shared the link to a GoFundMe page for TD Garden employees who will lose income due to postponed and canceled events. According to event organizers, Marchand, David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Joakim Nordstrom, Charlie Coyle, and other players have made “a significant contribution” to the fund, which raised more than $31,000 as of Monday morning.

After MLB suspended spring training and delayed opening day, Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh recognized the sadness that came with the decision, though acknowledging he believed it was the right call.


“It’s a sad day when we must close the doors for a bit…” he wrote. “But at this point, as public health is our priority, let’s all try to stay safe and find that collective joy in the small things.”

Infielder Michael Chavis shared a photo to Instagram, urging fans to “be positive.”

“In such a tough time it’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity,” Chavis wrote. “Don’t forget to smile, make somebody else smile. Be a light in a dark time!”

Other athletes have taken a more lighthearted approach, easing stress by sharing how they’re overcoming boredom and connecting with fans during this time.

Celtics rookie Grant Williams has been active on social media during his free time. He compared his teammates to characters from the film Space Jam on his Instagram story and retweeted a video of “marble racing” on Sunday, marking “Day 4 with no sports.”

Williams, who is an avid fan of the board game “Settlers of Catan” but can’t convince his teammates to play with him, thinks the game is the perfect activity as the public is urged to partake in social distancing, according to a tweet on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Marcus Smart polled his Twitter followers with an important question about “the old days.”


Bruins defenseman Torey Krug inserted himself into scenes from the Netflix drama “Narcos” that usually feature a solitary Pablo Escobar, tweeting the images with the hashtag “#StayHome.”

Patriots running back Damien Harris just wanted someone to help him understand “the correlation between Coronavirus and toilet paper.” Teammate Kyle Van Noy was looking for something to watch on Netflix.

Meanwhile, Patriots safety Devin McCourty said he was going to start playing video games since he was “stuck inside” before his twin brother Jason tweeted in response: “Nah you need to go negotiate a contract to sign back lol.”

He did that, too, announcing Sunday night that he would be staying in New England, signing a two-year deal to avoid free agency. Jason McCourty also re-signed with the Patriots.

The NFL is the only professional league that has not canceled or suspended events due to coronavirus, with free agency officially beginning Wednesday and next month’s NFL Draft still scheduled.


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