With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in the United States, the NFL is working to ensure that the 2020 season can kick off on time in September safely.
A likely scenario to do so is to hold games without fans in attendance, at least at the beginning of the season. That, however, could end up costing the NFL $5.5 billion this season.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, though, isn’t a fan of the idea of playing in an empty stadium.
“You need fans to play a game,” Donald said on Thursday, via ESPN. “I don’t see how you could play a game without no fans. I feel like that takes out the excitement and the fun out of the game … I feel like the fans is what pick you up. The fans is what makes the games exciting.
“The fans will give you that extra juice when you’re tired and fatigued, when you make that big play and you hear 80,000 fans going crazy. That just pumps you up.”
There were more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 95,000 deaths attributed to it.
The NFL started allowing teams to reopen their practice facilities this week amid the pandemic, though only certain personnel and players rehabbing injury are allowed back in while everyone else participates in a virtual offseason program. The league is currently “working very diligently” to come up with a plan on how to play its season this fall.
The Rams are set to open the season with a Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 13 at their new SoFi Stadium. California Gov. Gavin Newsom started loosening restrictions for most of the state this week, and said he thinks that professional sports can resume operations without fans starting in June if the infection rate doesn’t spike.
Regardless of what that game looks like, Donald said he’ll be ready for it. If there aren’t fans inside the $5 billion stadium to cheer them on, however, he’s not sure it’ll be much fun.
“You practice, and practice is practice,” Donald said, via ESPN. “And then you prepare to play a game and be on a big stage and play in front of a crowd … Just no excitement [without fans]. It wouldn’t be fun to me. I don’t think it would be fun to play a football game without fans.”
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