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NBA temporarily limits locker room access in response to coronavirus

The NBA is temporarily limiting locker room access in response to the international coronavirus outbreak, the league announced Monday. Only players and "essential staff," will be allowed to enter.

The NBA collaborated with three other professional sports leagues -- MLB, MLS and NHL -- in making the decision. Pre- and post-game media access will be moved to designated locations outside of locker rooms and clubhouses, starting Tuesday. 

The leagues said in a joint statement that they had consulted infectious disease and public health experts. They decided to limit access until further notice due to "the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings." 

The leagues' statement continued: “We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”

In response, the Professional Basketball Writers Association issued a statement saying it understood the NBA's decision.

“The coronavirus poses a serious health threat to everyone," the statement read. "The Professional Basketball Writers Association believes the safety of fans, players, team employees, arena workers and the media who cover the league must be protected. Our thoughts are with all people who already have been adversely impacted by the virus."

The PBWA also emphasized the importance of restoring full access after the threat passes. 

“Our members remain committed to providing thorough, insightful and fair coverage," the PBWA continued. "Locker room access is essential to good sports journalism. It allows for mutually respectful working relationships to be built, story ideas to form and for organic conversation to occur. It leads to richer stories and more informed reporting.”

The Thunder's next game is scheduled for Wednesday, against the Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Related Photos
Nov 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma City Thunder logo during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Thunder at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Thunder 97-81. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma City Thunder logo during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Thunder at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Thunder 97-81. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9d74fdecc52c514672d6826353a89352.jpg" alt="Photo - Nov 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma City Thunder logo during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Thunder at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Thunder 97-81. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports" title="Nov 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma City Thunder logo during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Thunder at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Thunder 97-81. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports"><figcaption>Nov 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Oklahoma City Thunder logo during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Thunder at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Thunder 97-81. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports</figcaption></figure>
Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

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