President Donald Trump said in a conference call with the commissioners of 12 major league sports on Saturday that he believes the NFL’s football season should start on time in September, according to sources speaking to ESPN.
On the call, the president reportedly said that he would like to see fans in arenas and stadiums by August and September, according to ESPN. It’s unclear whether this is a timeline specifically recommended by medical experts to be reasonable amid the spread coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioners from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, WWE Wrestling, the PGA Tour, UFC, IndyCar, LPGA, and Breeders Cup, were all present on the conference call, according to a White House pool report via ESPN.
The NBA was the first of the major sports organizations to suspend its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, as did another of his teammates and at least four players from the Brooklyn Nets. ESPN added that commissioner Adam Silver said he would be glad to lead the charge once given the “all clear” from health officials.
The NFL carried on with free agency activities last month following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league is preparing for a virtual draft beginning on April 23, though all live events and activities that were scheduled to take place in Las Vegas have been canceled.
Major League Baseball postponed its opening day meant for March 26 and also suspended all spring training activities. Neither the NBA, MLB or other major sports have set new startup dates.
According to ESPN, Trump also told commissioners about the idea of leagues working together to lobby for tax credits so fans could deduct concessions and tickets from taxes as a means to encourage fan turnout and jump start the economy.