Dr. Anthony Fauci: Sports Will Only Return This Summer If Fans Are Banned

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2020

FILE - In this April 13, 2020 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday the only path for sports to return this summer includes no fans in attendance and players being kept in quarantine for the duration of their seasons.

Fauci, an advisor to President Donald Trump, laid the groundwork for a potential return to play amid the coronavirus pandemic during an interview with Peter Hamby of Snap Originals (via ESPN).

"There's a way of doing that," he said. "Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. ... Have them tested every single week and make sure they don't wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out."

Trump announced Tuesday he's included several notable sports figures on his advisory panel that will attempt to figure out how to jump-start an economy hurt by COVID-19 without creating additional health risk. Here's the group:

  • Adam Silver (NBA commissioner)
  • Roger Goodell (NFL commissioner)
  • Gary Bettman (NHL commissioner)
  • Rob Manfred (MLB commissioner)
  • Jay Monahan (PGA Tour commissioner)
  • Dana White (UFC president)
  • Lesa France Kennedy (NASCAR CEO)
  • Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys owner)
  • Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks owner)
  • Robert Kraft (New England Patriots owner)
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"We have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old," Trump said. "But I haven't actually had too much time to watch. I would say maybe I watch one batter then I get back to work."

In March, Silver told ESPN's Rachel Nichols the NBA was trying to find a safe way to play to help fans make it through a period of quarantine and social distancing.

"Because people are stuck at home, and I think they need a diversion," he said. "They need to be entertained."

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported Tuesday that MLB continues to research its "Arizona plan," which would see the league's 30 clubs stationed in the state so it could start the 2020 season while waiting to see whether more widespread play is possible this year.

The NFL has moved its draft to a virtual format and indefinitely delayed in-person team workouts, but the offseason has continued to keep the door open to start the season as scheduled in September.

All major American sports have been halted since mid-March because of the pandemic.


Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports. In this episode, MLB outfielder Dexter Fowler.