On Sunday, President Donald Trump said that he missed sports and wanted “big, big stadiums loaded with people” to come back soon, a sentiment that is shared by many, many Americans. As John Oliver explained on last night's episode of Last Week Tonight, it's understandable: losing sports has been an emotional and financial blow to people, with around $12 billion in lost revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost as a result.
But Oliver said that cancelling sports was also “emphatically the right thing to do,” because “sporting events with large crowds packed together are the exact opposite of social distancing and the nightmare scenario during a pandemic.”
The pressure is now on, from the president, the public and the various vested interests, to bring sports back as “profit is a powerful motivator here, especially for some team owners who won’t be the ones taking the risk,” Oliver said. “And it’s why major sports like baseball and football are so eagerly pursuing plans to come back." But the details of their plans to return, including athletes playing in otherwise empty, fan-less stadiums, are filled with problems and holes: "The second you start reading the details of any plan, it automatically becomes ridiculous."
Ultimately, Oliver believe we should wait longer for the return of sports: “As hard as it is to hear, we might need a little more time to make sure we get this right – phasing sports back in slowly with tailored approaches that take into account each sport’s level of contact and robust systems of testing and tracing,” Oliver said.
In the meantime, for those looking to get their sports fix, Last Week Tonight has become the sole sponsor of Jelle’s Marble Runs, a Dutch competitive marble racing league whose "fantastic" 2020 Marble Games begins in June.