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Report: Trump believes NFL season should start on time in September

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, April 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In a conference call Saturday with commissioners from major United States sports leagues, President Donald Trump said he thinks the NFL should start the 2020 season on time, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The football season is scheduled to begin Sept. 10. So far, the league schedule has largely gone as planned, with the league year beginning on time in March.

Twelve major sports commissioners and executives were on the conference call, according to ESPN.

Trump told them he would like fans to be able to start going back to arenas in August or September.

Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, who wrote the article together, said it was “unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated it would take 18 months for a coronavirus vaccine to be complete. On March 24, Trump said he “would love” the country to be “opened up” by Easter, but five days later extended social distancing guidelines to April 30.

During the White House coronavirus task force press conference Saturday, Trump did not provide any timeline or mention specific months, but said he’d like to get fans back in stadiums “as soon as we can.”

“Whenever we’re ready. As soon as we can, obviously,” Trump said. “I can’t tell you the date but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later.”

If the hope of August or September can come to fruition, it would theoretically allow the NFL to start on time — though it is unclear whether offseason training will be delayed and how that would affect preseason games and the regular season.

Many other leagues would have to weigh holding the 2019-20 playoffs and heavily delaying the next season against simply canceling the remainder of this season and starting 2020-21 on time.

In a typical year, NBA and NHL seasons begin in October, the same month MLB playoffs begin. Both the NBA and NHL would have to push back the start of the 2020-21 season if they find a way to hold the 2019-20 postseason.

The NBA hopes to help jumpstart the economy once public officials declare normal life is safe to resume, commissioner Adam Silver said in the conference calls, according to ESPN.

Trump also brought up the idea of using tax credits to incentive fans to return to stadiums. Schefter and Wojnarowski wrote:

Trump also raised the idea of the leagues working together to lobby for tax credits that used to exists for fans, such as the ability to deduct concessions and tickets from taxes, sources said.

The NBA postponed its season March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus.

Other leagues did the same in the following days.

NFL teams are preparing to hold the 2020 draft virtually on the originally-scheduled April 23 to 25 dates, according to ESPN.


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