President Donald Trump is eager to get professional sports back playing again.
While the start of the MLB season was postponed to enforce social distancing measures in the time of a coronavirus outbreak, the commander in chief, who has been scrutinized for his handling of the health crisis, wants the NFL season to kick off in September as planned, according to ESPN.
Trump reportedly made the comment during a Saturday conference call with top brass of multiple major league sports. Later that day he gave remarks envisioning life beyond worries of catching COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading virus, with spectators filling sports stadiums.
“I want fans back in the arenas,” the President said in a daily White House briefing on the epidemic. “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.”
Commissioners and executives of the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WNBA, UFC and NASCAR, among other professional sporting leagues, were said to have dialed in to the conference call with Trump. Outside of discussing timelines for organizations to resume operations, Trump raised the possibility of extending incentives intended for the entertainment industry to the sports world to help address financial challenges, ESPN reported.
The NBA suspended its season in March after multiple players had fallen ill of coronavirus. Soon after the MLB and NHL followed suit.
Sports and government officials are uncertain when any of the games can resume. California Gov. Gavin Newsome is doubtful any stadium gatherings will be happening by September. He told reporter Saturday he is “not anticipating” sports to resume in The Golden State in the coming months.
“I’m not here to second-guess anybody, but I am here to say this: our decision on that basis, at least here in the state of California, will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our capacity to meet this moment, bend the curve and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that’s appropriate,” Newsome said.