Several American pro sports leagues hope to return in the coming weeks, and ESPN will host a two-hour SportsCenter special featuring six major sports commissioners to discuss the leagues’ plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aptly named special, The Return of Sports, will be hosted by Mike Greenberg on Monday, June 15 at 9 p.m. ET.
Greenberg will be joined by commissioners Roger Goodell (NFL), Adam Silver (NBA), Rob Manfred (MLB), Gary Bettman (NHL), Don Garber (MLS), and Cathy Engelbert (WNBA). The conversations will be pre-recorded.
The special will also discuss “social justice reform efforts among leagues, teams and players that have come to the forefront following the death of George Floyd and with worldwide demonstrations calling for justice, equality and the condemnation of racism,” according to the ESPN press release.
Here’s more on The Return of Sports from the press release:
Greenberg will speak with each league commissioner about his/her sport and the approach to return. Topics will include the health and safety of players and workers, the economic impact and plans going forward, games without fans and potential broadcast innovations, the consequences and legacy of “asterisk seasons,” and the potential long-term impact of COVID-19.
“Since sports came to a halt three months ago, we’ve all been eagerly awaiting their return. In this SportsCenter Special, fans will hear directly from commissioners, managers and athletes about the decisions they’ve made and the challenges they’ve faced throughout this unprecedented time, and what the resumption of sports will look like over the coming weeks and months,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production.
The Return of Sports will also have conversations with athletes Calais Campbell (Baltimore Ravens), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Brianna Turner (Phoenix Mercury), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), and Chiney Ogwumike (Los Angeles Mercury and ESPN commentator), as well as Joe Maddon (Los Angeles Angels manager), Taylor Twellman (ESPN soccer analyst), and Dr. Jennifer Ashton (ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent).
It will be interesting to see how honest and informative each commissioner is about their league plans, and particularly Manfred regarding the messy, seemingly-going-nowhere MLB season negotiations with the MLBPA (assuming nothing changes on that front by Monday).