President Donald Trump reportedly told commissioners of the major sports leagues across the country that he believed the NFL season should start on time during a call on Saturday.
According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, Trump said he wants fans back in stadiums by August after the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a screeching halt three weeks ago.
It's unclear whether such an early timeline will be possible for mass gatherings.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom disagreed with Trump's call for the NFL season to start on time, telling reporters, "I'm not anticipating that happening in this state."
President Donald Trump spoke with the commissioners of the major American sports leagues on a call on Saturday, discussing when leagues could potentially get back to playing as much of the country remains under stay at home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, Trump said that he hoped for the NFL season to start on time in September, with fans back in arenas and stadiums as early as August.
While speaking with reporters after the call, Trump would not give an exact date for when fans could return to arenas. "I can't tell you a date," Trump said, "but I think it's going to be sooner rather than later."
Trump's timeline for when America would be past the coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed over the course of the past few weeks.
In late February, Trump claimed of the virus, "It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear." Then in late March, Trump said he hoped that the country would be able to lift coronavirus-related restrictions by Easter. "I'd love to have it open by Easter," he said, despite warnings from public health officials. "I would love to have that."
Trump was quickly forced to backtrack on that timeline, as the pandemic continued to worsen across the country.
In response to Trump's most recent proposed timeline for a return to normalcy with regard to the sports world, California Gov. Gavin Newsom made his doubts of the August start-time clear. "I'm not anticipating that happening in this state," Newsom said.
Newsom went on to stress that any decision on the return of sports and fans to arenas would be based on guidance from health experts.
"So look, 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, and right now I'm just focused on the immediate, but that's not something I anticipate happening in the next few months."
In addition to the clearance of individual states, the players that make up professional sports leagues around the country will also have to be on board before the athletic calendar begins again in full, as one NFL veteran told Sports Illustrated's Andrew Brandt.
—Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) April 4, 2020
The sports world has largely been on pause since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, prompting the NBA to immediately suspend its season.
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