The President’s call with sports league commissioners includes a couple of guys who aren’t really sports league commissioners. And their presence suggests what one of the messages delivered could be.
Find a way to play your games.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has the list of participants in the teleconference, which is due to begin at 12:00 p.m. ET. It’s headlined by the obvious names, the heads of American sports’ four families: Roger Goodell, Adam Silver, Gary Bettman, Rob Manfred.
The list also includes Jay Monahan, who runs the PGA tour, Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the WNBA, either John Middlebrook or Jim France from NASCAR, MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
Then there are the eyebrow raisers. Dana White of the UFC and Vince McMahon of WWE will be on the call. (Omitted from the list are the NCAA, the XFL, and the ATP.) Both UFC and WWE have persisted during the pandemic. UFC 249 is scheduled for later this month, and WresteMania happens this weekend. At some point during the call, either or both White and McMahon will surely chime in on how and why they’ve decided to proceed in these unprecedented times.
Last month, after the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons and the NCAA canceled March Madness, White appeared on ESPN, relaying the message he received directly from the President and Vice President.
“They’re saying be cautious, be careful, but live your life and stop panicking,” White said on March 13. “Everybody is panicking and instead of panicking, we’re actually getting out there and working with doctors and health officials and the government to figure out how we keep the sport safe and continue to put on events.”
Whatever the message from today’s conference call, the sheer magnitude of participants guarantees that one or more versions of it will make their way to the media not long after the call ends.