The Sports Personalities Affected by Coronavirus

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Illustration: Eric Barrow

As the coronavirus continues its march, ravaging families and communities worldwide, the sports world finds itself at a crossroads, forever changed by the pandemic’s reach and left wondering how to proceed. The following is a look at some of the players, staffers, and personalities — and their families — to have been affected by the virus.

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Doug Pederson

On Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that their head coach tested positive for the coronavirus. Before he contracted the virus, Pederson told reporters via video conference that he “feel[s] extremely safe” at the Eagles training facility. Pederson is 52 and currently asymptomatic. He will need multiple negative tests to return to training camp.

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Miami Marlins

Nearly a dozen Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19. On July 26, four players, including that day’s starter Jose Ureña, catcher Jorge Alfaro (tested positive on July 24), first baseman/designated hitter Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez, all tested positive.

But according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, now it appears seven more players — and two coaches — have tested positive, as the virus tears through the Florida franchise, forcing the team to cancel its home opener Monday night. That brings the total number of players testing positive to 11. The team, which had just completed a three-game series with the Phillies in Philadelphia will remain in the city to undergo more testing.

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Yasiel Puig

The free-agent slugger announced his diagnosis in a July 17 Instagram post. “I would never have believed looking in the mirror that I had COVID-19,” he wrote. Puig has been an advocate of essential workers throughout the pandemic, partnering with a Miami-area supermarket chain to provide local hospital staffers with meals and protective gear.

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Russell Westbrook

The triple-double machine announced his positive test results via Twitter on July 13. “Mask up,” he warned.

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Cam Gallagher

Cam Gallagher

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Cam Gallagher

Gallagher, of the Kansas City Royals, played in an intrasquad game on July 10 before his test results came back positive the next day. The 27-year-old catcher said he was asymptomatic and felt “great” during the scrimmage, but his team’s potential exposure to the virus represents another hurdle in MLB’s quixotic quest for a return to play in 2020.

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Charlie Blackmon

Charlie Blackmon

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Charlie Blackmon

The Colorado star is one of three Rockies players who have tested positive for COVID-19, it was reported on June 23, less than an hour after it was annoucned that there would officially be a baseball season. Blackmon, 33, hit .314 with 32 homers in 2019.

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic

The Serbian tennis sensation announced he had been diagnosed with coronavirus, along with his wife, on June 23. Djokovic, 33, said his children have tested negative.

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Nikola Jokic

A month before the NBA season is set to resume, Nuggets All-Star, Nikola Jokic, tested positive for COVID-19 in Serbia. He is reportedly asymptomatic and his return to the states has been delayed as of late June.

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Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews

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Auston Matthews

News of the Tampa Bay Lightning shutting down their training camp in Florida on June 19 due to positive tests in the organization rocked the hockey world, but Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews was arguably a bigger shock. Toronto had hopes of being a hub city in the NHL’s return to play plan.

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Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott

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Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott, 24, was livid when his agent confirmed his diagnosis to reporters on June 15. The Pro Bowl running back tweeted “HIPAA??” — a reference to a series of American medical privacy laws meant to prevent leaks of sensitive health information.

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Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing

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Patrick Ewing

The ‘90s-era Knicks legend announced on May 22 that he had tested positive for coronavirus. The hall of fame center turned Hoyas coach is the only member of the program to have contracted the virus, according to a statement Ewing posted to Twitter.

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Georges Laraque

Georges Laraque

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Georges Laraque

The former NHL star detailed his battle with the coronavirus on facebook from a Montreal hospital. The former Oiler, Canadien, Coyote and Penguin had been training for a a marathon before he was hit with the disease.

“Now I can’t even get up without losing my breath. It’s insane,” he said on the video.

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Miguel Marte

Miguel Marte

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Miguel Marte

Marte, a member of the Oakland A’s organization, died on April 28, according to a GoFundMe page organized to support his family. The Dominican League player was 30 years old. He leaves behind two children and a wife.

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Erica Telfair & Dan Turner

Erica Telfair & Dan Turner

Sebastian Telfair and Erica Telfair (Inset)
Sebastian Telfair and Erica Telfair (Inset)
Photo: AP/@picofmerolling/Instagram

Erica Telfair & Dan Turner

The mother and older brother of 12-year NBA veteran and Brooklyn hoops phenom Sebastian Telfair both died from the coronavirus, according to the New York Post. Erica died on April 27th after battling COVID-19, one month after Turner succumbed to the disease.

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Steve Dalkowski

Steve Dalkowski

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Steve Dalkowski

Dalkowski, a towering figure in minor-league lore whose legendary arm strength was matched only by his lack of command, died on April 19, his family announced. The left-handed hurler’s storied career in the minors inspired the character of “Nuke” LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins, in the 1988 film “Bull Durham.” He was 80.

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Tom Dempsey

Tom Dempsey

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Tom Dempsey

Kicking for the Saints in 1970, Dempsey, born with no toes on his right, kicking foot, nailed a game-winning field goal from a record 63 yards out (see photo above), blistering past the previous league high of 56 yards and earning him sole possession of the FG crown for nearly 30 years. Dempsey died on April 4 of complications brought on by the coronavirus. He was 73.

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Sean Payton

Sean Payton

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Sean Payton

Payton has had roots in the Big Easy since taking over the Saints in 2006. Doctors in the hard-hit city diagnosed the head coach with the bug and subsequently gave him an all-clear in late March.

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Bobby Hebert, Sr.

Bobby Hebert, Sr.

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Bobby Hebert, Sr.

The 81-year-old father of former Saints and Falcons quarterback Bobby Hebert Jr. died on March 29 after testing positive for coronavirus, his family said. The younger Hebert, now a radio analyst, had taken to the airwaves just hours before, expressing grief and warm recollections for his dad.

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James Dolan

James Dolan

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James Dolan

A Madison Square Garden press release in late March announced that Dolan, the Knicks and Rangers owner best known for his contentious relationships with fans and the press, had contracted the coronavirus. Disgruntled New Yorkers quickly turned the cable TV scion’s potentially life-threatening illness into a series of memes.

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Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert

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Rudy Gobert

The Utah Jazz center’s iconic display of hubris will live forever as a snapshot of the times. Gobert’s positive diagnosis, which almost immediately followed his theatrical flaunting of social-distance guidelines, prompted the NBA to cancel its season. He has since recovered — and changed his tune on the outbreak’s severity.

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Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell

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Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell, an apparent victim of collateral damage in Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert’s misguided flippancy, was reportedly not thrilled with the big man’s antics. Recent reports say that the relationship may be irreparable. Mitchell has since recovered from the illness.

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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

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Marcus Smart

The Celtics guard, who never felt any symptoms and has since recovered, announced he will be donating his blood to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.

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Christian Wood

Christian Wood

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Christian Wood

Despite having flu-like symptoms, Wood decided to play against the 76ers on March 11th, scoring a career-high 32 points in 39 minutes. Four days earlier, he guarded Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Did one give the virus to the other? We may never know.

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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

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Kevin Durant

The March 17th announcement that the two-time NBA Finals MVP was diagnosed with coronavirus, along with three other unnamed Brooklyn Nets, rocked the sports world. Durant, who had been recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered during last year’s finals, reported no flu-like symptoms despite his diagnosis.

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David Edwards

David Edwards

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Screenshot: Texas A&M

David Edwards

The death of Edwards, a Queens native and Texas A&M standout from 1991 to 1994, was confirmed by his alma mater on March 23. The 5-9 guard still holds A&M’s single-season assists record (265).

“Anytime Aggies lose a member of the family, it hurts,” Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said. “Hearing from his friends this was coronavirus related really hits close to home.”

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Lee Green

Lee Green

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Lee Green

Green, a member of two St. John’s tournament squads and a retired NYPD officer, died on March 23 after contracting the virus. The Bronx native was 49.

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Patrick McEnroe



Patrick McEnroe

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Patrick McEnroe

The 53-year-old retired tennis player and younger brother of John McEnroe is currently a tennis analyst for ESPN. He experienced minor symptoms at his New York City home in mid-march, but Is now feeling 100 percent.



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Doris Burke

Doris Burke

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Doris Burke

Burke is a beloved broadcaster and in 2017 became the first woman to become a full-time NBA game analyst. She felt her first symptoms on March 11, the same day the NBA suspended its season. Burke felt extraordinary fatigue for multiple weeks, but has since fully recovered.

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Jacqueline Cruz – Mother of Karl-Anthony Towns

Jacqueline Cruz – Mother of Karl-Anthony Towns

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Jacqueline Cruz – Mother of Karl-Anthony Towns

On March 24, Towns announced that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, was placed in a medically-induced coma due to coronavirus complications. On April 13, three weeks after the announcement, the Timberwolves reported that Cruz had succumbed to the disease.

His father, Karl Anthony Towns Sr., fell ill but has since recovered.

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Jim Edmonds

Jim Edmonds

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Jim Edmonds

Edmonds, known for his 8 Gold Glove awards as a center fielder and appearances on The Real Housewives of Orange County, was hospitalized in late March due to the coronavirus. He has since recovered, even making jokes about the disease on Instagram.

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Maury Hanks

Maury Hanks

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Maury Hanks

Hanks, a scout for the Detroit Pistons, was admitted to the ICU on March 23. Struggling to maintain the 57-year-old’s oxygen levels, doctors placed him on a ventilator. After more than a week of intubation, Hanks’s condition improved and he was discharged from intensive care.

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Tony Boselli

Tony Boselli

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Tony Boselli

Boselli, a retired bulwark of the Jaguars offensive line, was rushed to the ICU with respiratory issues after exposure to the virus. The five-time Pro Bowl pick’s condition has improved and he is recovering at home.

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Anthony J. Causi

Anthony J. Causi

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Photo: Photo Courtesy of the NY Post

Anthony J. Causi

The longtime New York Post sports photographer died April 12, after a weeks long battle with COVID-19. Causi captured some of best moments in Big Apple sports over several decades. He was 48.

Former Met and Yankee Curtis Granderson tweeted: “Sad to learn of the passing of @ACausi ... New York baseball won’t be the same without him in the photo pit. Praying for his family during this difficult time. @Yankees @Mets

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Marlowe Stoudamire

Marlowe Stoudamire

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Marlowe Stoudamire

An entrepreneur and community leader in Detroit who started a pilot program with the Detroit Red Wings to get inner city children involved in hockey called “Learn, Play, Score.” It expanded ball-hockey in school gym classes along with organized games and tournaments after school and in the summer. He was a consultant for the NHL’s Social Impact, Growth and Legislative Affairs department, and was in the process of getting his program into other NHL cities at the time of his death. Stoudamire also worked with the Greater Toronto Hockey League to bring more diversity to its players and organization. He also worked with the Detroit Lions. Stoudamire passed on March 24. He was 43-years-old.

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Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers

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Los Angeles Chargers

One unnamed member of the Chargers organization has tested positive for COVID-19 and two others have exhibited symptoms. “Everyone is doing well and is on the road to recovery,” a team spokesman said on April 15.

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Brian Allen

Brian Allen

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Brian Allen

On April 15th, the Rams’ starting center became the NFL’s first active player to acknowledge testing positive for the coronavirus. The 24-year-old was tested three weeks prior to his announcement, after waking up without his sense of smell. Although he is says he was feels well as of April 15th and no longer suffers from headaches or fatigue, doctors say Allen may not fully regain his sense of smell or taste for 6-8 months. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer first reported the news that was later confirmed by the Rams.

“I talked to him yesterday. I’m really glad to hear he’s feeling good, he’s healthy and he’s on the road to recovery,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “I think we all understand that the severity of what this has meant for some people, fortunately for Brian, he’s on the road to recovery. I think he did a great job of letting us know right away so we could be timely in our response and making sure that we didn’t expose anybody else to that.”

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Von Miller

Von Miller

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Von Miller

The Denver Broncos’ elite pass rusher tested positive for COVID-19, according to his agent Joby Branion, who made the annoucement on April 16. Branion says Miller is “in good sprits” at home.

Miller Is the second active player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus after Rams center Brian Allen.

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Lyman Good

Lyman Good

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Lyman Good

Good became the first UFC fighter to test positive for COVID-19, news he disclosed in a video interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Monday, April 20. Good, 34, says that he tested positive for the virus last month, but that he was now “100%”.

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Javier Castellano

Javier Castellano

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Javier Castellano

The veteran jockey who is one of the top earners for the past nine years tested positive for COVID-19 back in March. His last race was at Gulfstream Park on March 15.

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Art Howe

Art Howe

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Art Howe

The former manager and infielder who spent 25 years in the majors was hospitalized on May 12 after being diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 3. The 73-year-old said he lost his sense of taste and had “never experienced anything like it before.”

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