John Oliver Warns Against Quick Return of Sports: ‘It’ll Be a Cautionary Tale’
John Oliver warned against the speedy return of sporting events on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, noting that if they come back too quickly and irresponsibly, it will be a “cautionary tale.”
He noted that the moment people began to take the coronavirus more seriously is when the NBA suspended the rest of their season, prompting other sporting leagues and events to do the same.
The host noted that although postponing and canceling sporting events was the “emphatically right thing to do,” considering large crowds are a “nightmare scenario during a pandemic,” many are pushing for their return — including the president.
Oliver then played a clip of President Donald Trump promoting the return of sports, and hoping fans can begin to fill the stadiums again soon. The president added that he’s tired of rewatching baseball reruns, claiming he only has time to watch one batter before getting back to work.
“Okay, but here’s the thing. We actually asked some experts about that, and it turns out that when the country is in the middle of a pandemic that’s killing many thousands of Americans every single week, the correct number of batters from 2006 for the president to be watching is actually f*cking zero,” Oliver snapped.
He walked back a bit, adding that the president is right to note that the current lack of sports is hard on a lot of people, both emotionally and financially.
Oliver then revealed how sports teams, athletes, and mascots are giving back by donating to charities or posting humorous and inspirational videos for their fans, and included a video of a Russian slapping competition that has gone viral on social media.
“If we are all reaching the point of desperation, where we’re honestly willing to watch large men slap each other in a windowless room, there is clearly a desire to restart sporting events. The question, though, isn’t why sports should come back but how that can safely happen,” he said. “Because to do it responsibly would be a mammoth undertaking. To do it irresponsibly, however, turns out to be pretty easy.”
He bashed Florida’s decision to label professional sports such as WWE as an essential job amid the coronavirus pandemic despite a potential outbreak, pinning the decision on the “pressure to ignore that risk.”
“I will own the fact that I really want sports to come back,” Oliver said. “There is no doubt that they have the ability to inspire. One of the things sport does best brings people together in times of crisis like when the Yankees resumed playing after 9/11. Unfortunately, though, bringing people together is the exact thing we should not be doing right now.”
“If it comes back too soon and irresponsibly, it won’t be an inspiration, it’ll be a cautionary tale,” the host added, advising that we bring sports back slowly and with “tailored approaches that take into account each sport’s level of contact.”
Watch above, via Youtube.
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