President Donald Trump held a conference call with sports league executives Saturday afternoon that included NASCAR President Steve Phelps and IndyCar’s Roger Penske.
They were joined on the call by the commissioners of the NFL, NBA and NHL, among others. All sports have been sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a news briefing Saturday, President Trump, who gave the command to start this year’s Daytona 500, was asked about the call and hopes of having fans back in arenas later this summer.
“I want fans back in the arenas,” President Trump said. “Whenever we’re ready and as soon as we can, obviously. 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 on the golf courses and breath nice clean beautiful air.
“I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later. We’re not going to have to have separation for the rest of our times on the planet. We need it for this period of time. Eventually, people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other like we have for all of my life and all of your life.”
President Trump was asked about his contingency plans after not committing to packing arenas and stadiums by August. President Trump replied: “I’m not committing to it. I’m not committing to it. We’re going to see where we are. That would be great if we could. We’re going to be back to good health soon, in my opinion.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom was asked about the possibility of sports hosting events and fans by August or September.
“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 focused on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”
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