New York Gov. Cuomo Clears Pro Teams To Begin Training In State
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “Starting today all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps... It’s a return to normalcy. We are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible.” pic.twitter.com/SERjcbDsg6— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 24, 2020
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "support to get sports back up and running took another step forward on Sunday, as he encouraged New York's professional sports teams to begin working out" in the state, according to Deesha Thosar of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Cuomo during a press conference said that all N.Y. pro sports teams -- including the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders and Bills -- "can start training in the state beginning immediately." But sources said that both the Yankees and Mets "plan to begin spring training at their respective facilities in Florida, instead of New York." Cuomo's permission "doesn't mean much for the Knicks and Nets, either," as most of those teams' players have "left the area during the coronavirus pandemic." Cuomo said, "I believe sports can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena. Do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up." He added, "We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we'll work with them to make sure that can happen" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/25). Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy today tweeted, "Professional sports teams in NJ may return to training and even competition -- if their leagues choose to move in that direction" (TWITTER.com, 5/26).
WAIT-AND-SEE APPROACH? On Long Island, Gross & Logan noted the Nets in response to Cuomo's statement announced they would "re-open their Brooklyn practice facility" tomorrow. The players who report to the Nets' facility "must follow the established NBA protocols." While the Nets are "taking advantage of the state's green light, it's not clear yet whether Cuomo's comments will open a floodgate of professional teams training in the state." For the "most part, New York's professional teams are looking to their respective leagues for guidance or are planning to train elsewhere." The Islanders, who train in East Meadow, and the Rangers, who have a facility in Greenburgh, "must get the NHL's approval to re-open their practice rinks." NYCFC has a practice facility in Orangeburg, but also is "awaiting guidance from MLS" (NEWSDAY, 5/25). In N.Y., Braziller & Berman wrote it "remains to be seen how many of the players plan to take advantage" of being able to work out in the state, since "many of them aren’t in the area and instead with their families" during the pandemic. It was previously reported that a few Knicks players were "wary of returning to New York because of the virus that has ravaged the city, though it has seen declining deaths and fewer cases in recent weeks" (N.Y. POST, 5/25).
BACK TO WORK: On Long Island, Andrew Gross reported construction of the Islanders' new arena at Belmont Park, halted since March 27 in response to the ongoing pandemic, "should be able to resume on Wednesday" as Cuomo "continues to follow a phased reopening of the state's businesses." Cuomo said that Long Island "remains on track for Phase 1 re-opening on Wednesday." Construction, along with limited retail sales, manufacturing, wholesale trade and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting are "included as businesses that can re-open in Phase 1." The work on the Belmont Park arena was "deemed non-essential when it was halted." The Islanders hope to open their new arena in October '21, and team officials have "expressed confidence through the construction delay that the target date will not be affected" (NEWSDAY, 5/25).