Recently MLB baseball filed a lawsuit on behalf of every single major league baseball team for the loss of finances due to the COVID 19 lockdown, and their inability to make money during the shortened season. The claim states that they purchased an “All Risks Policy” that protects them from a catastrophe leading to economic losses. Apparently teams have purchased this policy with AIG, Factory Mutual, Interstate Fire, and Casualty Company. The report went on to mention that many businesses had filed similar lawsuits dealing with the pandemic lockdown causing financial losses. The insurance companies are yet to pay.
This made me think of an issue that was raised a few weeks back about people setting up games without park permission and charging random teams. I sent out a warning to parents and coaches about fields being rented out without city approval and sort of left it at that. I am not a lawyer, nor am I an insurance specialist but I have a feeling that in every nook and cranny an insurance provider implements conditions that allow the right to not pay for X, Y or Z reasons. Will the insurance policies pay the MLB teams? It is possible they pay a full amount. It is also possible they settle on a small amount but in a worst case scenario, it is possible that they find a loophole where they do not have to pay up. Bringing it back to the people paying to play scrimmage games, and to the coaches who organize them, I just want you to keep that in perspective when choosing to play. I am not just referring to the Sunday league scrimmages that are organized without permits. I am also talking about playing anywhere. Everyone has a right to play wherever they want and whenever they want. It is not my place to tell you that you are right or wrong to play here or there. Just understand, that as a coach there are dangers involved with the virus. If you are a coach, you should check with your insurance provider and ask to see what type of policies exist for Covid 19. If they do not offer any Covid 19 policies, ask them to provide you a waiver where parents have to sign to take on full responsibility and that states that you will not be liable should some Covid 19 related issues arise. It does not matter that 99% of those who get it recover fully without a problem, and it does not matter if you think it is not as dangerous or that you think it is bogus. If you are a coach, you need to understand that you are a captain of a ship, and also responsible for all personnel on board. Either get a higher priced insurance dealing with Covid, if there is one, or get the waiver. If you are a tournament director charging an arm and a leg for park use, or for tournaments, I would advise you to do the same. At the end of the day, every lawyer has this MLB case on the radar, and depending on what happens there, lawsuits will be restructured if it turns out an insurance company does not have to pay. That is not a good place to be for parents. So understand what you are getting into. If you must play, have a team mom do temperature checks at least and make sure parents that are nearby waiting have a mask. That is not a very difficult thing to do. Buy a Thermometer Laser Gun that checks a kid’s temperature before jumping on to the practice field. If you are a parent, feel free to order the coach one at the link in the previous sentence.
If we all do our part we can ensure that kids continue to play sports safely. Unfortunately, California has been one of the hardest hit states. Youth sports, and school sports have become affected due to the closures and restrictions. It has not stopped people from practicing and travelling a little bit out of the city or out of the state to play. I went to a state cup for soccer in Arizona during the Thanksgiving weekend and there were over 500 teams nationwide that were in attendance. It was a big issue with the mayor and the council and there was talk leading up to the weekend that it might get cancelled. The city was expecting an enormous amount of money for its struggling businesses and it was difficult to cancel given that this would mean millions of dollars lost that would have been coming into the different businesses. The argument against the tournament stated that Covid numbers were bound to increase with so many people coming into town. Just imagine, 500 teams! In soccer you typically need 11 players on the field but most teams carry about 15 players. Then, add up all the family members that travelled…that is a lot of people. So that is why they were concerned about it. Every business I went into followed the same Covid guidelines that we have in California and it seemed for the most part customers were following the guidelines as well.
The bottom line is we all want to return back to normalcy as soon as possible. The optimism in the air is that the vaccine will begin distributing doses a little bit later on Monday. Once the optimism increases, this will cause the local governments to feel more positive about youth sports and then remove all restrictions.