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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the United States, said there’s a chance sports can come back this year but with stipulations.
“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci told Snapchat’s Peter Hamby on Wednesday in one interview of a week-long series. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them (athletes) in big hotels, wherever you want to play. Keep them very well surveilled ... and have them tested like every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out.”
Fauci has been leading the fight against COVID-19 and is part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. He did a Q&A with Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, who launched a resource guide this week based on the talk.
Would people be OK with a spectator-less sport?
The option might be sports without spectators or no sports at all. In that case, Fauci — a former basketball player — thinks the decision is easy.
“People say, ‘well you can’t play without spectators,’” Fauci said in the interview. “Well, I think you’ll probably get enough buy in from people who are dying to see a baseball game. Particularly me. I’m living in Washington — we have the world champion in the Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again.”
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said games without fans would be “refreshing” and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle said stadiums without Seattle or New Orleans faithful would “make my life really easy.”
Going without spectators won’t be a massive issue for leagues such as the MLB, which have lucrative TV partnerships to fall back on. It is more of a problem for the smaller sports and women’s sports in particular, where ticket sales are a key part of revenue.
MLB, NBA considers quarantined situation
The question about bringing sports back centered around a truncated MLB season and football, both collegiate and professional, starting in the fall. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said this week he would be open to hosting the league if it did choose for an isolated season. The idea has been floated but received a lot of pushback.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he is in no rush to start the 2020 season.
“The only real decision that we have made, the only real plan that we have is that baseball is not going to return until the public health situation has improved to the point that we’re comfortable, that we can play games in a manner that’s safe for our players, our employees, our fans, and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely.”
The NBA, which was suspended with a handful of games remaining for each team and a two-month postseason to play, has also bounced around the idea of an isolated conclusion.
The NFL is planning on playing its season as scheduled. The first sport back on the calendar might be the UFC on May 9. Then, the PGA Tour is expected to announce it will resume the 2020 season on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Fans will not be allowed to attend, a policy that will likely continue for a few weeks of events. The LPGA is also planning to restart on June 15.
Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban to advise Trump
The sport world is colliding with politics amid questions of when the nation will “re-open” after quarantine and stay-at-home policies are lifted. President Donald Trump released a 14-person list Tuesday of sports related personnel enlisted to help advise him on it.
It includes Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. It also includes commissioners for the NBA, MLB, NFL, PGA Tour, LPGA, USTA, MLS and NHL as well as leaders for NASCAR, WWE and the UFC.
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