The man who helped run the USFL into the ground has some advice for sports owners.
Of course, he also hoped to have everyone out of their houses by Easter, so there’s no reason to take that to the bank.
But he’s hardly alone in that sentiment. Take Sam Pittman, for instance.
During a recent appearance on Little Rock-based 103.7 radio show “The Buzz” hosted by John Nabors, Pittman was asked if he’s given any thought to not playing football in 2020.
“No. Absolutely not. I never thought about it one time. No. No,” Pittman firmly stated.
“I don’t know if my mind won’t let me think about it but no. We have to stay safe, we have to do the right thing, the country needs college football. So, no, I haven’t thought about it. Obviously, we’ll do whatever they tell us to do but we’ll also be ready whenever they tell us to go, but no, that would be a sad situation and, of course, so is this virus, I understand – I’m not comparing the two by any stretch, but no, I haven’t really thought about it.”
“We have to stay safe, we have to do the right thing, the country needs college football” is the perfect encapsulation for our times. Which is how you get to this stage:
The yearning among fans for sports’ reappearance collides with reality. The U.S. Tennis Association said this week that it still plans to stage the U.S. Open as scheduled from late August through mid-September in New York. The site of the tournament, Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, is being converted to a temporary hospital.
Cognitive dissonance, thy name is American sports.
It’s easy to sit back now and advise caution. The statistical evidence is grim in the short term. The tricky part comes this summer.
U.S. experts said opening stadiums in this country would be among the last stages of lifting pandemic-related restrictions. The first step would be letting people go back to work, with social distancing still in place. Travel restrictions would thaw. Only after those changes could authorities consider allowing stadiums to open.
The best-case scenario, Winslow said, is that social distancing and other restrictive measures combined with higher temperatures lead to a dramatic decrease in cases by late May.
“That would potentially give public-health people the incentive to at least consider starting to relax these restrictions,” Winslow said. “That would mean allowing potentially sporting events and concerts and that sort of thing to happen by the early fall.”
Even if the seasonal change provides relief, it may be temporary. The 1918 flu pandemic diminished over the summer, then returned in the fall and lasted into 1919.
“The public health and epidemiologists are saying, ‘The biggest tragedy we could have would be if we think we’ve got a handle on this and we’re still going to have whatever the projection is — it may be 100,000 deaths — and we allow people to go back to normal everyday life and then infections happen again,’ ” Evans said. “That kind of slow rollout back to normalcy is going to be something that’s difficult for everyone.”
I don’t know about you, but Doctors Sankey and McGarity giving us the all clear in August to join 70,000 others in Mercedes Benz Stadium to watch Georgia play Virginia doesn’t exactly make me want to rush out and buy a ticket. How about you?