SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — Governor Gavin Newsom said he is not anticipating that NFL and college football games will go on as scheduled in the fall due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday in response to reporter who asked if he believes stadiums will be packed for games in August and September.
“We’ve all seen the headlines in 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 and there’s a boomerang,” Newsom said. “One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.”
Newsom said he recently had a conversation with a well-known football player who asked him if he expects to come back.
“I would move very cautiously in that expectation,” Newsom said.
He said any decisions made in California will be based on facts and determined by health experts.
“Right now I’m just focused on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months,” Newsom said.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump reportedly believes the NFL season – scheduled to begin Sept. 10 – will start on time with fans in seats.
Trump met by phone with many U.S. pro sports leaders Saturday to discuss how that industry has been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, saying he was looking forward to the resumption of competitions “as soon as we can.”
“I want fans back in the arenas,” Trump said later in a briefing at the White House. “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.”
The NBA was the first of the major U.S. sports leagues to shut down on March 11, doing so after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Other leagues quickly followed, and hundreds of games have already been lost.
The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were canceled along with virtually every other college athletic event for the remainder of the academic year; major events like the Masters Tournament, the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500 have been postponed; and thousands of arena employees have lost work because of the shutdown of the sports and entertainment industries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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