Will we see football being played live when football is expected to be played?
That is the question looming over the offseason for the NFL, the only major sports league in the United States that wasn’t in-season at the time that the COVID-19 pandemic took over our society and has left us quarantined in our homes.
While September is still five months away, it has already been widely—and sometimes hotly—debated as to whether or not conditions around the country, and around the world, would be suitable to make it safe to resume activities such as a football game, whether or not that involves fans actually being inside the stadium, or if it would have to be broadcast without a crowd.
A conference call with league heads around the country with the president prompted the discussion as to whether or not football would be able to resume in September, and resulted in the governors of the states that host NFL teams being asked about the president’s comments, who said he thinks the league should be able to get going on time.
Among those prompted for a response was Tom Wolfe, the governor of Pennsylvania, where both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles play. As has universally been the case, he was not as optimistic about whether or not the NFL could play games as early as September.
“I think it’s too early to call what happens in the fall”, he said, per PennLive. “As for what happens in the winter sports season, unfortunately, every sport, professional and non-professional sport, amateur sports, have closed down, and I think Pennsylvania needs to follow suit on that”.
As of now, the United States has had over 500,000 cases and over 20,000 deaths, both more than any other country. With over 482,000 active cases, and still only 30,000 reported recoveries. Pennsylvania has the sixth-most cases in the country with around 22,000, with just over 500 coronavirus-linked deaths reported, and over 20,000 active cases.
While all sports leagues are essentially shut down until further notice, they have internally been holding discussions about how and when they could resume activity, with, for example, the MLB giving consideration to playing a season with an altered conference structure, with teams playing in one central location.
Meanwhile, the UFC has had to have its plans to continue hosting fights out on an island somewhere shut down by their own broadcasting partners in the name of the safety of their athletes and other employees who would have to be involved in the endeavor.
One of the absolutely most astounding things to me about this entire situation has been the revelation that there are genuinely people who value human life as secondary to more abstract concepts such as the economy.
There has been no shortage of commentators going up and down the line who have been willing to put their name on remarks essentially taking the position that it’s okay if many more people than necessary have to die as long as it means that we get businesses up and running sooner than is safe to do so. And this is even among people who are not downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus.