6:15 pm: The Professional Basketball Writers Association issued a statement saying it would temporarily comply with the ban.
“We understand the NBA’s decision to temporarily close locker rooms to everyone but players and essential team personnel with the NBA’s promise that once the coronavirus crisis abates, the league will restore full access to the journalists who cover the league.”
6:06pm: The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS have jointly announced that locker room access will be limited to players and essential personnel, sports business expert Scott Soshnick tweets.
The APSE and six writers organizations have issued a statement asserting that they are intent on preserving a safe work environment but that “we also must ensure the locker room access — which we have negotiated over decades — to players, coaches and staff is not unnecessarily limited in either the short or long term. We look forward to open communication with the leagues as, together, we deal with this serious health matter.”
5:25pm: The NBA is planning to ban the media from locker rooms due to concerns over the coronavirus, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.
Only players and essential team personnel would be allowed in locker rooms. Essential personnel would include coaches, front office members, basketball staff and the team’s public relations representatives. Teams have also been instructed to create a 6-to-8 foot distance between players and media members during interviews outside locker rooms.
The locker room ban is among recommendations from experts in the infectious disease and public health fields.
The NHL was the first major pro sports league to shutter the media from its locker rooms due to coronavirus fears. MLB is planning to make the same move, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The league has scheduled a conference call with team owners and governors to outline the steps that will be taken to fight the spread of the virus. More drastic measures could be on the horizon, including the possibility of teams playing games with only essential personnel in arenas if the virus continues to spread rapidly in the U.S. and Canada.