Earlier today we reported on a big time conference call that took place today between President of the United States Donald Trump and some of the most powerful men in the world of sports. Based on the reports stemming from that phone call it sounded like a return to normal for the world of sports would be coming sooner rather than later but that optimism may have been misplaced.
Trump help a conference, over the phone of course, with some of the the commissioners of the major sports leagues in North America. The list included men like National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell and even men like Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White and World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon. It was during that conference that Trump expressed his belief that fans would be back attending games in major stadiums around the country by the end of the year, much sooner than that in fact.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Donald Trump informed those on the call that he expected to see fans in stadiums again as early as September of this year. From Schefter:
In conference call with major league sports commissioners on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time in September, sources familiar with the call told me. Donald Trump also told commissioners that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, though it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current [situation].
That is a great deal of optimism to be sure but now one state's governor has responded and has completely derailed that potential optimism. Governor Gavin Newsom of California made it clear that he does not agree with the President's optimism, and went so far as to suggest that he does not see a way in which that could happen over the next few months at least.
"I'm not anticipating that happening in this state," Newsom said as per SF Gate. "We've all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia where they opening up certain businesses and now they're starting to roll back those openings because they're starting seeing some spread and there's a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise."
"I would move very cautiously in that expectation," Newsom said. "Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve ... Right now I'm just focusing on the immediate, but that's not something I anticipate happening in the next few months."
The major sports leagues in North America all have teams in California, and in most cases have multiple teams in the state, so any plans to return to action would have to include approval from California. I, like many of you no doubt, am hopeful that the President will be proven correct, however given the uncertainty surrounding out current situation I will temper those hopes with a harsh dose of reality.