By Peter Gleason
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the United States’ fight against the coronavirus, says the only way professional sports will happen this summer is by holding events without fans and by keeping players in hotels.
“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci told Snapchat’s Peter Hamby as part of a weeklong interview series. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. … Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”
Fauci, who specifically addressed a question about an abbreviated baseball season and football starting, said he thought there would be enough interest from fans to watch games, even if they could not attend.
Major League Baseball and its players have been considering plans that could allow them to start the season in a single location, likely Arizona, with no fans attending, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan last week. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has said his state would be willing to host all 30 major league teams if conditions allow for it.
Fauci’s comments come a week after 72% of Americans polled by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus. Just 13% of Americans said they would feel comfortable attending games the way they had in the past. A second poll this week had a slight plurality, 46% to 36%, saying the NFL season should not open as scheduled in early September.
President Donald Trump, who has regularly received input from Fauci, said yesterday that he is including figures from the sports world — including NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — to help shape his plans to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy.
Fauci noted to Hamby his interest in being able to watch the World Series champion Washington Nationals.
“I want to see them play again,” he said.