New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t ready to share the buoyant outlook of United States President Donald Trump just yet when it comes to sports.
On Saturday, President Trump told the commissioners of the major North American sporting leagues that he is hoping for a return to games with fans in attendance by August or September — a glimmer of positivity while the athletics world is on hold amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
By that timeframe, the NFL — America’s most popular league — would be able to return for a full season.
He did little to support those claims, though, during his daily coronavirus press briefing where he did not cite any research from medical experts on the matter.
On Sunday morning, Governor Cuomo added to the skepticism of football’s regularly-scheduled return.
“I’d love to see sports back, help with cabin fever, but this isn’t about hopes and dreams and aspirations,” he said at his daily press conference. “None of us like being here. Follow the data, follow the science, let the professionals tell us when it’s safe to reopen.”
The NFL has remained largely unscathed by the outbreak of COVID-19 because it is in the early portions of its offseason.
March 18 brought the beginning of the new league year and a dizzying transactional period that saw major free-agent signings, like Tom Brady heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and trades.
As it stands, the 2020 NFL Draft is still set to take place from April 23-25 but it’s been downsized from a public event in Las Vegas that expected to draw in over a million fans to an isolated selection process.
Meanwhile, the other major North American sports leagues were in full swing or preparing to get going.
After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus on March 11, the NBA postponed its season the very same evening. The following day, Major League Soccer and the NHL postponed its season while Major League Baseball canceled spring training and pushed back its Opening Day.
All league suspensions are indefinite and given the uncertain spread and control of the virus, it makes it nearly impossible to properly predict when sports get the green light to return.