Two weeks ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci sounded optimistic about a return to sports this summer, even if it was without fans. Two weeks Later? The doctor doesn’t sound nearly as optimistic.
Fauci, who heads up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is often one of the most vocal members of the president’s coronavirus task force, says that without a guarantee of safety, sports may not be able to resume.
“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” Fauci explained to the New York Times. “If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”
Fauci continued, “I would love to be able to have all sports back. But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re not ready for that yet.”
The key part of that quote, might be the word “yet.”
No sports executives are planning for an immediate return to sports complete with fan attendance. Even Major League Baseball, the league that missed its start date and has the longest season, isn’t seriously pondering a return right away. Most reports put a hypothetical MLB start date at or around the 4th of July.
What throws a curveball into the plans, potentially, is Fauci’s statement that fan attendance can’t resume until a teams can “guaranty safety.”
Anyone who has attended a sporting event in Philadelphia is intimately aware that safety is an illusion. But, in truth, no one can “guarantee safety.” Not a sports team, not a government, not anyone.
All this means, is that its increasingly more likely that sports will start at some point in the near future, they will just do so without fans.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn