President Donald Trump spoke on a conference call with major sports leagues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, and said that he believes the NFL season should start on time in September, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Trump told the commissioners (from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, WWE, PGA Tour, LPGA, UFC, IndyCar, and Breeders’ Cup) that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums by August and September.
Shortly after that news, California governor Gavin Newsom was asked about Trump saying the NFL should start on time in September with fans in attendance, and said, “I’m not anticipating that happening in this state.”
On his daily press briefing just now @GavinNewsom tells me flatly re #NFL starting season on time w/fans in stands in the CA stadiums: "I’m not anticipating that happening in this state." @AdamSchefter https://t.co/ejqC423Vtk
— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) April 4, 2020
California governor Gavin Newsom pushes back on Trump's reported comments from today's call that he believes the NFL season should start on time in September with fans in the stands: "I'm not anticipating that happening in this state." pic.twitter.com/QQ6QxapZ9Z
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) April 4, 2020
Here’s Newsom’s full response:
“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state. Let me tell you why, Ron.
We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they were opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings, because they’re starting to see some spread. There’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here. One has to be careful not to overpromise.
It’s interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and in the NFL. They’ve been asking me… in fact, a well-known athlete just asked me, a football player, if he expects to come back. I said, ‘I would move very cautiously in that expectation.’
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 or not that’s appropriate.
And right now, I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”
California is home to plenty of professional sports franchises, including three NFL teams: the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers.
Newsom was the first governor to issue a statewide stay-at-home-order (and it’s likely saved many lives) during the COVID-19 outbreak, and it appears he’ll carry the same level of caution on the sports front in the coming months.