Major sports league continues to make plans to return. Whether and when that happens remains to be seen.
The Premier League, via Sports Business Daily, hopes to resume its suspended 2019-20 season and to complete 92 remaining matches at approved stadiums, once the U.K. government allows it to happen.
The goal is to return by June 8, with the season ending on July 27. The next season would start less than four weeks later, on August 22.
Lack of widespread testing continues to be the biggest obstacle for the return of any sports, especially those where the players are in relatively close contact and viruses can and will spread like wildfire. And that’s not “doom and gloom” as some who constantly fix their hair and fidget with their T-shirts while not quite looking into the camera would insist. That’s reality.
During a videoconference with reporters last Wednesday, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith explained that it will be difficult to justify the kind of testing necessary to allow NFL players to return to work if the communities in which their teams reside don’t have similar access to testing. Unless NFL players are quarantined for the full season, they’ll need to be tested again and again and again — presumably, every time they enter the petri dish that is the pro football locker room.
Without that kind of testing available for everyone, the only practical solution will be the Bio-Dome approach. But that’s something that plenty of players won’t want to do, if it means being away from their families for months.
Many more questions will need to be addressed before sports can safely return. Every answer, however, seems to give rise to more questions. So instead of dangerously proclaiming that “we’re going to be fine’ and that “we’re rapidly going back to normalcy” and that only the elderly and infirm should be worried and that it’s time to bring back sports, it makes much more sense to identify the questions, answer them, keep answering all additional questions that come to light as questions get answered, and continue that process of spotting issues and solving problems until a firm plan emerges.
Hopefully, that’s what the sports league are doing, because it won’t be enough to just declare that sports are ready to return. The virus will still be lingering, and without a clear and practical plan players will catch it and they will spread it and if only one morbidly obese college or pro offensive or defensive lineman with a comorbidity dies from COVID-19, it will be game over literally until a vaccine is developed and implemented nationwide.