United States president Donald Trump held a conference call with the commissioners and leaders of several sports leagues in the country on Saturday, including Major League Soccer, to discuss the possibilities for restarting sports after the coronavirus pandemic abates.
While the professional leagues are in a holding pattern at present, with Major League Soccer officially on hiatus through May 10 at this point, and that moratorium likely to be pushed back, Trump reportedly told the league leaders he wishes the leagues to restart with fans in the stands by August or September of this year, according to ESPN.
Publicly, Trump did not repeat that timeline with reporters after the call, instead sticking to a generalized, “No, I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later.”
But while going without sports until late-summer would seem to be a difficult if necessary measure to combat the spread of coronavirus, California governor Gavin Newsom was not even willing to commit to a projection to have sports return this fall: “I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” he said after Trump’s call took place Saturday.
”It’s interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and in the NFL, they’ve been asking me — in fact, a well-known athlete just asked me, a football player, if he expects to come back. I said, ‘I would move very cautiously in that expectation,’” Newsom added.
Some of this, of course, comes down to an abundance of caution — neither the president or governor wants to be on the hook for a specific date, and should conditions fail to improve, they would have to set dates to lift stay-at-home orders back, something I assume they don’t want to do.
At the same time, it’s rather concerning that even the projection of August or September — 5-6 months after California began sheltering in place in earnest — is perhaps too optimistic for the state’s top policy-maker. On the surface, this is really hard to contend with on a morale level, having our everyday lives, including sports, disrupted this much for 6+ months.
Of course, this is an unprecedented time in our lives, too, and in the name of public health this seems like the optimal policy for now, to stay at home to try and restrict the spread of coronavirus. That all makes total sense and is logical, but nevertheless, it is dispiriting to wrap one’s mind around.
So far, MLS hasn’t released a specific statement surrounding Saturday’s conference call, although I would expect some kind of update in the next week. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.
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