The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all nonessential personnel in response to the coronavirus crisis, the leagues announced in a joint statement Monday night.
The leagues said they made the decision “after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.” The NBA, in a call with teams earlier Monday, stressed that the move is not to ban reporters but to ensure the safety of players and staff in those areas.
The statement, in part, read: “Given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.”
The changes, which the leagues say are temporary, will begin Tuesday, though some NHL teams began closing their locker rooms to the media over the weekend, with player availability at practices and after games held outside the room or, in many cases, at news conference podiums. The NBA said interviews with players will continue in settings other than the locker room, stressing a gap of 6-to-8 feet between reporters and interview subjects.