President Trump Holds COVID-19 Conference Call with Major Sports Commissioners

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIApril 4, 2020

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in attendance at the funeral service for NFL New Orleans Saints owner and NBA New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson in New Orleans, Friday, March 23, 2018. Benson died last Thursday at the age of 90. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
Derick Hingle/Associated Press

The nation's professional sports commissioners participated in a conference call with President Donald Trump on Saturday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep leagues shut down across the country. 

Rick Westhead @rwesthead

President Trump’s call with sports league commissioners has wrapped up. White House spokesman Judd Deere says the commissioners “thanked President Trump for his national leadership and for his interest in the sports industry.” Full statement attached: https://t.co/SNbEmRlOoo

Commissioners from the NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and NFL highlighted a guest list that also included the leaders of the PGA Tour, WWE, NASCAR, MLS and UFC. 

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver have been at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 when it comes to sports leagues in the U.S. 

On the night Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first known NBA player to test positive for the virus, Silver immediately shut down the league, becoming the first commissioner to take the drastic step. That was on March 11. On March 12, other leagues quickly followed suit. 

While the NBA, NHL and MLB all remain committed to resuming their seasons in some form this summer, pessimism is setting in on the ability to do so. On Friday night, ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted the league is beginning talks with the players union to cancel the rest of the season. Previously, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated had begun to circulate that the NBA was considering a centralized playoff held in Las Vegas over the summer. 

Of all the leagues represented on the call, the UFC and WWE are the only ones trying to maintain a normal schedule. All other professional sports have postponed or canceled events. 

UFC 249 is slated to take place on April 18, yet it's in need of a new venue with Brooklyn's Barclays Center no longer an option. A new face in the main event is also required after lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said he was pulling out of his bout against Tony Ferguson as he remains isolated in lockdown in his native Russia. 

The WNBA became the latest league to delay its season on Friday, announcing it was indefinitely delaying the scheduled May 15 start.