Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York stated on Monday, May 18, that he was open to the return of professional sports to the state. During his daily news conference, he said: “I have been encouraging major sports teams to plan re-openings without fans, but the games could be televised. New York State will help those major sports franchises do just that. Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen. We are a ready, willing and able partner.”
New York has been the most visible state during these unprecedented times, so many took notice. This included governors Gavin Newsom of California, who soon made a similar statement. Texas Governor Greg Abbot quickly issued an executive order that allowed teams and leagues to resume on May 31. With the three largest states in the country signing off on the resumption of games in as early as May (collectively, the three have 37 major sports franchises), the other states will likely follow suit.
A work in progress
There is still much to be determined before games are played. And then there will much more to address before the crowds are back in full force. According to Yahoo Sports, it is important to remember that things will need to be done safely, but it is unlikely to be an imperfect process.
Athletes and staff need to sign off
The resumption of sports means that stadium staff, media at the games, team support staff, coaches, and players will need to sign off on their involvement in the resumption. The safety protocols, of course, will be in place to protect everyone, and in many ways the protocols will need to shift with changes that arise. The other sticking point remains: the players and owners need to agree about pay, either for the resumption of basketball or hockey, or baseball and other summer sports. More on this as the negotiations unfold.