President Trump Names Sports Commissioners to Panel on Restarting Economy

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIApril 14, 2020

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, second from left, and Republican lawmakers, stand during a Salute to the Military during Game 5 of a baseball World Series game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. Also Pictured are Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, third from left, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., fourth from right, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., third from right. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

United States President Donald Trump named major professional sports commissioners, as well as a few individual team owners, to a panel that will advise the federal government on how to reopen the country and jump-start the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a Rose Garden press conference on Tuesday, Trump said he will be discussing the economy with Adam Silver, Rob Manfred, Roger Goodell, Gary Bettman, Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban and Vince McMahon, among others.  

"We have to get our sports back," Trump said. "I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old."

It is not immediately clear how involved the sports commissioners and owners will be in the panel or what capacity they will serve. 

On April 4, the leaders of the NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA, UFC and PGA as well as MLB, WWE, NASCAR and MLS took part in a phone call with Trump in which he expressed his gratitude for the way teams and leagues have taken part in COVID-19 relief efforts. 

The NBA and MLB, in particular, have been at the forefront. Adam Silver halted the basketball season indefinitely upon Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive on March 11. MLB quickly followed suit the next day and has since worked out an agreement with its players on salaries and service time and on Tuesday committed employees and players from 27 clubs to a 10,000-person COVID-19 antibody study.

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Individual leagues are continuing to evaluate options to resume play in some fashion. MLB has floated a plan to host the season under quarantine with all teams playing in Arizona. The NHL reportedly has a similar strategy for North Dakota—though it extended its leaguewide self-isolation period through April 30 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the UFC's Dana White says he is working to secure a private island to host his fights. 

Tuesday's announcement by Trump comes only hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom said it's "unlikely" fans will be allowed in attendance for sporting events in the state this summer. 

 

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