Earlier today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, spoke to Snapchat’s Peter Hamby about an array of topics revolving around COVID-19, including his take about how professional sports will be able to happen again this summer.
When specifically asked about the potential for an abbreviated baseball season and the start of the NFL season, Dr Fauci suggested that summer sports could still be possible provided that the leagues took drastic measures in order to keep everyone involved safe and secure. In his educated opinion, the major leagues could potentially hold their events during the summer months but that they would have to do it without fans in attendance and by keeping players sequestered in hotels.
“There’s a way of doing that. Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them (the players) in big hotels, you know, wherever you want to play, and keep them very well surveilled. Have them tested every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”
The idea of fanless games has been thrown around a lot over the past few weeks, and while a lot of people think the lack of atmosphere might ruin things, Fauci believes that if enough time passes without sports that being unable to attend in person won’t be an issue.
“I mean, people say that you can’t play without spectators… well… I think you’d probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a baseball game, particularly me, I’m living in Washington and we have the world champion Washington Nationals and I want to see them play again.”
Personally, I’d be all for watching sports with no fans if that was the only way to get these leagues back up and running. Obviously, having no one in attendance is far from an ideal situation but I still think it’s a route worth exploring anyway. At this point, I truly believe that so many of us are desperate for any sense of normalcy that the oddness of having a silent arena would be a minor inconvenience or irritation that we’d all get over pretty quickly if it meant we were able to watch the Oilers again.
Sure, there’s no denying that it would be every flavour of strange to watch Connor McDavid score a goal and have no fan reactions to cheer him on, but I also can’t ignore thinking about how happy we’d all be to be able to turn on the TV and have a live game to watch and get invested in. Even without the fans, having sports back in some form would give us all a couple of hours to get away from the endlessly negative news cycle we’re living in and escape to a time before the COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives upside down, and I believe there’d be value in that.
From where I blog, I’d love to see the major sports leagues find a way to get back to playing this summer even if it meant not being able to watch from the stands and Dr Fauci’s comments gave me some hope that it could actually happen. To me, sports provide a great escape from life and I think that’s exactly what a lot of us need right now, even if that means rolling with an experience that none of us has experienced before. What do you guys think?