Jay Inslee says he would bet on football being played in fall “but the virus gets a vote on this”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday that he believes football can be played this fall but that it’s still far too soon to know with certainty if that possibility can come to fruition.

Inslee has managed the response of the state as Washington was the home of the first diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in the United States in January. Significant distancing measures have been in place for the last month as the state has managed to get case numbers to plateau. Current stay-at-home orders extend through May 4 in the state.

Inslee was asked his thoughts on whether he was concerned about the possibility of there being no football played this fall in an interview on Sports Radio 950 KJR.

“It is a possibility,” Inslee acknowledged. “Right now, if I had a dollar to bet I’d bet that we’re going to have football in the fall but the virus gets a vote on this and we’ve got to make decisions to save lives. If I had a dollar to bet… And it may be different. We maybe have only a quarter of the people in the stands, for instance. But you have to realize these are decisions we can’t make now. I’d love to be able to look in the crystal ball to answer those.”

While sports leagues are trying to determine the feasibility of playing their seasons this year and the possibility of playing without fans or a limited number of fans, Inslee noted that local governance will have the ultimate say on the nature of gathering size

“Well we would still have jurisdiction on the issues of gatherings of any nature so that could be subject to orders at a later date possibly,” Inslee said. “Would it make sense to do that? I don’t know. I haven’t really thought through that.

Inslee’s purview would ultimately determine how, or if, the Seattle Seahawks would be able to conduct games this fall at CenturyLink Field and whether the team could even convene to practice depending on the nature of gathering restrictions. However, Inslee is hopeful that the state’s efforts will continue to move in the right direction.

“I’d bet our curve is going to go down,” Inslee said. “And if our curve goes down we’re going to get to a point where we’ve got enough reduction of fatalities where we can remove some of the social distancing if, and this is a big if, if we can get enough testing capability that the hundreds of people that we’re putting on the contract tracing – we’re building an army to sort of be like a fire brigade. If there’s a fire you call the fire engine. Well we want an army that if you get symptoms you can call this army to come test you right away, get results right away and make an appropriate decision. If we get that in place and the test kits are available, which they’re not right now because we can’t get the federal government to help us enough to manufacture those test kits, then we’re going to be in good shape in a few weeks. But those things need to happen. I’m pulling for them to happen. I want to thank everyone that’s helped us to make that happen.”