New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Sirius XM NFL Radio Friday morning that he continues to “hold out some hope” that fans of the New York Giants and New York Jets will be able to attend games at MetLife Stadium this fall.
“The [COVID-19] virus indoors is a lot more lethal than it is outdoors,” Murphy told co-hosts Charlie Weis and Bill Lekas. “It’s a whole different ball game inside than outside.”
With NFL training camps set to start in less than three weeks, Murphy admitted that “there’s a lot of unknowns” regarding how things will transpire. He did, though, credit the Giants and Jets for their efforts.
“The key thing is communication and people being responsible, and these organizations could not be better in that regard,” Murphy said.
Murphy also said that the state of New Jersey would have to be involved with both the teams and the NFL in any decision regarding allowing at least some fans to attend games.
“That’d be all of us. We’d need to be involved because this is a public health matter, so we couldn’t put people in close contact with each other unless we thought that was a responsible step to take,” Murphy said. “That’s the big nut that we still have yet to crack, I would say. Whether they go the European soccer route where they’re playing the games with no fans or whether or not there’s some amount of fans they can have in there, that’s a decision we have to make together.”
A major question not only about NFL games but about players from “hot spot” states arriving for training camp revolves around the travel restrictions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Those restrictions ask for a 14-day quarantine for anyone who arrives in those states from a hot spot.
Lekas asked Murphy specifically about games, but it’s fair to wonder if his answer may also apply to whether or not Giants and Jets players will be expected to arrive in New Jersey two weeks before the July 28 reporting date.
“That is a tough one. We do have a carve-out for essential travel and a professional sports team would qualify for that carve out,” Murphy said. “We’d probably, without having put this in stone, I’m sure we’d probably want to do one, and more than one, test for the virus when they got here. Or ask them to take it as they’re leaving wherever their host state is. That’s the minimum standard. Your question gets to a very fair point, we – along with New York and Connecticut – have asked folks if they’re coming from a hot spot state to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested.
“A 14-day quarantine doesn’t work in an NFL schedule. So at least the testing piece would have to be there and I think if anyone is symptomatic or they’ve tested positive already, I’d hope they wouldn’t get on the plane.”