Tag Archives: Sports

COVID-19 Forces Pro Sports Teams to Mandate Vaccine Proof for Fans

by Sally James


A late summer surge of the COVID-19 delta variant has schools scrambling to adjust to in-person learning, parents worried about the safety of unvaccinated kids, and sports fans on edge.

Local professional sports teams, including Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, and Seattle Kraken all announced that they would require proof of vaccination from fans who want to attend games. Following those announcements Tuesday, Sept. 7, the Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, and Seattle Mariners also announced similar rules to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The rules don’t apply to fans under 12 years old, who cannot yet be vaccinated. In a story this week, the Emerald outlined the updated guidelines for student athletes.

For participants in outdoor sports and fans of all ages, the delta variant continues to spread throughout the community, requiring changes to fall plans and public health guidance.

Off the field, the Washington Hospital Association (WSHA) reported an almost 7% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide over the previous week. Some of that press conference is in this video from television station KIRO-7. WSHA leader Cassie Sauer explained that overcrowded hospitals anywhere are a problem for all hospitals, because patients are sometimes shifted to other facilities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the County is trying to create some vaccine verification standards that could become effective in October. These would help businesses and others quickly verify a person’s vaccine status.

In this week’s Q&A, we hope to help you make sense out of the latest COVID-19 health and safety headlines with links to credible sources.

Send your questions to us at editor@seattleemerald.org.

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Fall Sports Are Back: How to Safely Support Our Local Teams

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Fall sports have returned, but the rules are a little different this time around. For King County schools, sports like football and basketball were canceled for 2020, although a short football season took place in March of this year. Now student athletes are back for the fall season, with mask or testing requirements in some cases. For spectators, a new mandate from Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) means masking up in the bleachers while you cheer on your favorite teams. 

At this stage in the pandemic, health officials know more about COVID-19 transmission, and over 70% of eligible King County residents have been vaccinated. However, the number of confirmed cases has climbed since July, putting a strain on hospitals. Even outdoor gatherings that were once considered lower-risk activities have been sites for transmission, such as the 108 cases linked to the Northwest Washington Fair

In light of the increase in confirmed cases, PHSKC issued a new mask mandate that requires all people ages 5 and older to wear face coverings at outdoor gatherings of 500 or more, regardless of vaccination status. It’s also strongly recommended that all people wear face coverings at outdoor settings where they can’t maintain a social distance of 6 feet from non-household members. 

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The Elleby Foundation Brings Youth Basketball Camp to the Community

by Ronnie Estoque


Basketball runs deep in the local Elleby household. In 2011, Garfield High School honored Bill Elleby as a legend for his contributions as a player during the late 1980s. He went on to play for the University of California, and the team made two National Invitation Tournament appearances and one NCAA appearance during his four years as a Golden Bear. Raised to love the game of basketball by his late uncle, Carl Ervin, Bill was a Cleveland High School and Seattle University star and was eventually drafted by the Seattle Sonics in the 1980 NBA Draft. Four decades later, the next generation of basketball talent in the family, C.J. Elleby, is officially in the NBA as the Portland Trail Blazers guard.

“The moment he [C.J.] got drafted, it was kind of surreal, I had tears fill into my eyes because I know how hard he’s worked,” C.J.’s father, Bill Elleby, reminisced. “And I know how hard it is to get to that dream — for players to get drafted.”

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OPINION: Noelle Quinn and the Importance of Black Women Coaches in the WNBA

by Maggie Mertens, contributing columnist


When Noelle Quinn was suddenly named the head coach of the Seattle Storm earlier this month after Dan Hughes’ retirement, it was historic. In a league where the vast majority of the players are Black women, Quinn is the first Black head coach for the Storm and brings the total number of Black women current head coaches in the WNBA up to two. Women coaches, and especially Black women coaches, are vastly underrepresented in professional sports. 

Since the WNBA began in 1997, there have been 86 head coaches. Forty-four have been women. When the league debuted with eight teams, six head coaches were women. In the years since, that percentage has gone down. At the beginning of the 2021 season, there were just four women head coaches in the WNBA out of 12 teams. Quinn’s appointment brings that tally up to five. Last year there were zero Black women head coaches in the WNBA. Quinn became just the 19th Black woman head coach in the league’s history.

Quinn noted in her first press conference after the announcement of her promotion that she felt the significance of that history. She listed off all of those 18 Black women head coaches who came before her: “You talk about Pokey Chatman, Teresa Edwards, Jennifer Gillom, Carolyn Jenkins, Vickie Johnson, Trudi Lacey, Cynthia Cooper, Cheryl Miller, Carolyn Peck, Julie Rousseau, Amber Stocks, Karleen Thompson, Shell Dailey, Jessie Kenlaw, Cathy Parson, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Denise Taylor, and Penny Toler,” Quinn said. “They crawled, so I can walk. I sit on those shoulders … For me, it’s important that I’m not just a woman — I’m a Black woman.”

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OPINION: Megan Rapinoe, the Cascadia Rivalry, and Letting Women Athletes Talk Trash

by Maggie Mertens, contributing columnist


Last Sunday’s OL Reign game ended in a 2-1 win against rivals the Portland Thorns. The match was significant for a few reasons. It was the first match the Reign had won against the Thorns in four meetings. It also ended an 11-game win streak for Portland, handed them their first loss at Providence Park in 602 days, and marked the first OL Reign win of the 2021 regular season. 

But perhaps most importantly, it featured something we don’t see nearly enough of in women’s sports: epic trash talk.

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PHOTOS: Youth football league brings community, families to the field

By Susan Fried

Stepping onto the field at a Northwest Premier Junior Football and Cheer League game, one might think the whooping, cheering crowd is watching a National Football League championship. But they’re not. They’re cheering on tiny children, bobble-headed in football helmets.

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PHOTOS: Rainier Beach Track Team Celebrates Championship Wins

by Susan Fried

The Rainier Beach Track Club had a good summer season, sending 22 to athletes to the 2019 USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, California, in July. The team, coaches, families, and friends celebrated August 14 at Rainier Beach Community Center. Ten of the athletes had all American performances receiving medals in the 800, 100, race walking, shot put, and javelin.

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Rainier Beach High School Celebrates Winter Sports

by Susan Fried

The line for hotdogs, outside the Rainier Beach High School gym moved quickly as officers and employees from the Seattle Police department worked like a well-oiled machine distributing beverages, chips, and hotdogs to the students and members of the RBHS basketball as they celebrated placing in the Washington State High school basketball tournament. Foor was provided by Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, an initiative that uses a community-led, place-based approach to reducing violence that affects youth in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The school held a Winter Sports Barbecue to honor the teams achievement and celebrate winter sports at the school. Students played some pick up basketball and enjoyed music and live radio shout outs from a DJ provided by KUBE 93.3.

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Franklin High School Welcomes Basketball Teams from Florida to Vancouver, B.C.

by Susan Fried

The Franklin High School gym floor echoed with the sounds of squeaky tennis shoes and basketballs being dribbled on the hardwood as 16 teams from four states and Canada participated in the 2018 High School Basketball Tournament of Champions at Franklin High School. The teams came from as far away as Miami, Florida. High School teams from all around the state of Washington also showed up for the tournament. Along with the host team from Franklin, Nathan Hale and Cleveland teams also participated.

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