The WNBA joined many sports leagues around the world by postponing their season due to COVID-19.
Along with the postponement of the season, WNBA training camps are also postponed. The season was set to begin on May 15, with training camps set to start three weeks prior. Training camps are crucial before the season as they are designed for teams to prepare together before their first games start.
Even though training camps and the start of the season were postponed, the WNBA Draft still took place on April 17, just virtually.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert believes the draft is a time to celebrate exceptional athletes for their hard work, but still knows the risks.
“Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount. With that in mind, we will work diligently with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honors these accomplished athletes,” Engelbert told the WNBA.
With the whole league being affected, individual players have been affected by the virus as well. In the WNBA, it is common for players to play overseas during the offseason. Many overseas league play had been suspended as well, which left the decision on the players to stay in their respective countries or return to the United States, some breaking their contracts.
At the end of March, Sydney Wiese from the Los Angeles Sparks was the first to announce she tested positive for COVID-19. She had been playing in Spain.
In an article from USA Today Wiese talked about her experience with the virus. On April 10, she announced she took a second coronavirus test which came back negative, but beforehand it took many hardships to get tested the first time.
She returned home on March 14 and was unable to get tested until March 25. Two days after finally receiving a test, the results came back positive.
“I tested positive for COVID-19. I am feeling well- fortunate to only show mild symptoms, but I am capable of spreading it. All of us are united in our fight to stop this spread and keep everyone safe/healthy. I will do my part, and I hope you do too,” Wiese wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Isabelle Harrison, center for the Dallas Wings, was playing in Italy before deciding to return home in mid-March. By leaving her team in Italy, she missed out on her last paycheck.
When she returned to the United States, she was unable to get a test so she decided to self-quarantine in a Dallas hotel, nearly spending $2,500 out of pocket.
“That’s still my job, no matter what I do. That’s how I get paid. So not even knowing the next time I’ll get a paycheck, it really alters how you operate in life,” Harrison told the Washington Post.