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Game on! Gov DeSantis reopens pro sports, invites leagues from lockdown states to come for practice and play

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, announced Wednesday that professional sports teams in the state may begin practicing and playing again, and encouraged sports teams in other states to relocate if they too want to join in the frolicking.

All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” he said at a news briefing in Tallahassee. “Now we’re not necessarily going to have fans, but there’s been reports that Major League Soccer may want to have their season in Orlando. Do it. We want to have you here. We want to have basketball practicing again. We’d love to have the Major League Baseball.”

And I think the message is that our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives. It’s an important part of people’s lives, so we want to be able to do that. I think we can certainly do that in a way that’s been safe.”

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While DeSantis’s announcement is likely to generate criticism from pro-lockdown critics, the facts lie in his favor, with his state outperforming locked-down Democrat ones in regard to coronavirus infections and deaths.

“According to the latest Florida figures, fewer than 2,000 have died, and around 43,000 have been infected,” Politico reported Thursday.

“That’s a fraction of the dire predictions made for Florida when spring breakers swarmed the beaches, and those numbers are dwarfed by similarly sized New York, which has seen 12 times more deaths and nearly eight times more infections.”

Plus, the Florida governor isn’t alone in pushing his state toward a return to normalcy.

A day prior to his announcement. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, also a Republican, announced that professional sports may resume in his state starting this upcoming weekend, albeit without fans present.

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DeSantis’s announcement also comes amid sports teams in Florida taking their own actions designed to return their players to the field.

“DeSantis’ proclamation came on the same day the Miami Heat started allowing players to participate in voluntary individual workouts at the team’s facility under strict guidelines. The Orlando Magic will do the same this week,” The Palm Beach Post notes.

“It came after two charity golf matches benefitting COVID-19 relief efforts already were scheduled. … It came a week after Inter Miami players started kicking around the soccer ball, while wearing face masks, at their facility in Fort Lauderdale and less than a week after tennis’ 2020 (Re) Open Tour kicked off in West Palm Beach with four of the sports’ top young stars competing.”

Word through the grapevine is that the governor may also soon reopen gyms, which would be a great boon for all sports players.

“We’re gonna have an announcement [Friday] that encompasses the gyms,” he reportedly said Thursday at a news conference in Doral. “You had certain guidelines that CDC put out and they think that gyms were a problem, so that’s why they were closed.”

“I think if you do sanitation, first of all, this is a virus where if you’re in good shape, you’re probably going to be OK, so why would we want to dissuade people from going to the gym to be in shape? I think it’s really important that people have access to gyms and to do different exercise.”

Data shows that the symptoms of the coronavirus tend to significantly worse in those who are out of shape.

“This is a virus that, if you’re in good shape, you’re probably going to be OK. I think it’s really important that people have access to gyms,” DeSantis added.

He may have been incentivized by a pro-gym, anti-lockdown protest that’d occurred Monday in Clearwater.

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Unlike the governors of other states — mainly Democrat-led ones such as Michigan — it appears DeSantis has chosen to listen to (not mock and demean) his constituents.

Yet despite the governor’s outreach, his polling numbers remain lower than that of Democrat peers such as Michigan’s Grethen Whitmer and New York’s Andrew Cuomo. Politico predicts the reason why is partly because of media bias.

“Cuomo … has something … DeSantis doesn’t: a press that defers to him, one that preferred to cover ‘Florida Morons’ at the beach (where it’s relatively hard to get infected) over New Yorkers riding cramped subway cars (where it’s easy to get infected),” the outlet notes.

“In fact, people can still ride the subways for most hours of the day in New York, but Miami Beach’s sands remain closed. Maybe things would be different if DeSantis had a brother who worked in cable news and interviewed him for a ‘sweet moment’ in primetime.”

Vivek Saxena

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