Donald Trump is hoping that the NFL will be able to start its season on time in September despite warnings from medical experts that it could take several more months of social distancing efforts in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
As ESPN reported, the president shared his wishes on Saturday in a conference call with commissioners of major sports leagues. Trump reportedly told those on the line that he wants to see fans going back to stadiums and arenas by August and September, a timeline that goes against some of the projections of how the virus will spread.
Trump later reiterated his claim during the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing, saying he hoped the sports world could return to normal as quickly as possible.
“I want fans back in the arenas,” Trump said.
“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 did not give an exact date of when he believed this could happen, but did say he thought it would be “sooner rather than later.”
The same day, Trump took to Twitter to reassure Little League baseball players that their season would resume soon as well.
There are already predictions that there could be a long absence for sports. As The Inquisitr reported, there are talks within the NBA to cancel the entire 2019-20 season rather than trying to pick it back up at some point in the coming weeks or months. The 2020 Summer Olympics, set to take place between July 23 and August 8, have already been put off until 2021.
But there could also be some support for Trump’s idea of getting sports back sooner. As ESPN noted, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told those on the call that the NBA would “love to lead the way in starting the economy” — but only once there is an “all clear” from public health officials that they could return. It was the NBA’s decision to suspend its season on March 11 that led to other major sports leagues following suit.
The NFL has also moved forward with the official start of its season, opening free agency and plans to hold the NFL Draft later this month.