The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the start of the MLB season and interrupted other sports leagues. But when it comes to the NFL season, President Trump has supported the notion that the league can start on time.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, the president shared his belief that NFL teams should be ready to compete in early September during a weekend conference call with the commissioners of major sports leagues. While the MLB and NBA have reportedly weighed playing games without fans in attendance, Trump expressed his desire to hold events with full crowds by the fall.
“I want fans back in the arenas,” Trump later told reporters at a White House briefing. “I think it’s … whenever we’re ready. As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air.”
The president told the press that he believed sports would resume “sooner rather than later” and applauded the leagues’ commissioners for “the good work being done by many teams and players” during hiatus to help communities. Several individual players have made pledges to virus-related causes in addition to team organizations and ownership helping aid relief efforts, including Robert Kraft’s transport of over 1 million medical masks aboard the New England Patriots team plane.
Trump’s declaration that the NFL season should start on time follows the league’s decision to move forward in planning a full 2020 season. Officials have revamped scheduled offseason events to abide by recommended social distancing measures in hopes that they will be cleared for a September start with full stadiums. The NFL Draft is set for the end of this month with team executives and prospective players positioned remotely, and team facilities have been shut down to limit in-person activities.
“They wanna get back; they gotta get back,” Trump told the press of league commissioners. “They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for it; the whole concept of our nation wasn’t designed for it. We’re gonna have to get back. We wanna get back soon, very soon.”
Top medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams have warned that this week will be the toughest yet in America’s battle with the virus. Worldwide cases recently crossed the 1 million count, with over 330,000 confirmed in the U.S. and a national death toll of nearly 10,000.