Sports | April 5, 2020 11:12 am

Trump Wants the NFL to Start on Time Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Trump reportedly told commissioners that he expects sports to be back "sooner rather than later"

Trump NFL coronavirus
US President Donald Trump holds a jersey given to him by the New England Patriots during a ceremony on April 19, 2017.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

While sports already in progress shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest league in the country is still looking to start on time, and now they have a loud supporter of that plan in the White House. As reported by ESPN, President Donald Trump spoke in a conference call with sports commissioners on Saturday about his desire to start the NFL on time this year.

On the call, which featured the leadership of all the major sports in the United States with the notable exception of the National Women’s Soccer League, Trump stated that he believes fans will be back in arenas and stadiums “sooner rather than later,” and that the NFL should be ready to start on time in September, as planned. In a briefing done after the call, Trump stated that he wants fans back as soon as is possible:

I want fans back in the arenas. I think it’s … whenever we’re ready. As soon as we can, obviously. 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.

Trump’s statement contradicts comments made this week by California governor Gavin Newsom, who said that he is advising players and team personnel that he is “not anticipating [the NFL returning in September] happening in this state.”

Also on the call, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly said that his league would be ready to start back up as soon as they get an “all clear” from public health officials, adding that he would love to “lead the way” on restarting, much in the same way as they did with the shutdowns; the NBA was the first American league to close up shop on March 11.

The conference call comes after reports this week from various sources that college football was looking at least a delay in its traditional August starting point, if not a full cancellation of games.

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Read the full story at ESPN