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California governor: What happens when a key player tests positive?

Chris Simms explains why he thinks the NFL's "Phase 1" plan for reopning team facilities will work and could even become a model for businesses outside of sports.

There is an excitement, with the schedule release tonight, that we could see NFL football come this fall. Maybe even a full season, starting on time in September.

But California Governor Gavin Newsom threw some cold water on the idea Thursday, only hours before the league’s schedule announcement.

“On the sports question, it’s difficult to imagine a stadium that’s filled until we have immunity, until we have a vaccine,” Newsom said, via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “It’s difficult for me and imagine what the league, broadly leagues, do when one or two of their key personnel or players are tested positive. Do they quarantine the rest of the team if an offensive lineman is practicing with a defensive lineman, and they are tested positive? What happens to the rest of the line? What happens for the game coming up next weekend? It’s inconceivable to me that that’s not a likely scenario, so it’s a very challenging question you’re asking.”

All it took for the NBA to suspend its season was for Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert to test positive. So what happens if the NFL begins training camp and one player or two players or multiple players on a team test positive?

That is among the many questions every league has to answer before resuming or starting play.

So we can all continue to keep our fingers crossed that some really smart people figure out how sports can continue safely for players and coaches with games played either with or without fans.

“Look, I’ve talked a lot about my own background in baseball and why substantially I’m here because of what sports did for me, and when I say I’m passionate about sports, I really am, and how uniting sports can be at a time when people feel so torn apart and so anxious,” Newsom continued. “And I really think they’re incredibly important in terms of spirit and pride that a community, state and nation can build. So I say this very, very honestly, I hope to be able to answer that question sooner than later. But it’s a very tough question for these leagues to answer, because they must have a safety-first, health-first mindset, and there are conditions that persist in this state and this nation that make re-opening very, very challenging.”

Newsom’s answer raises another question: What happens if some states won’t allow professional sports but other states will?

For now, the NFL still has time on its side. But one day quickly is turning into another and one month into another. At some point, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will have to answer the “challenging question” posed to Newsom on Thursday.