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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Dr. Anthony Fauci (L), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in the press briefing room of the White House on March 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the United States, with New Yorks case count doubling every three days according to governor Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spoken to sports executives and done various interviews with sports media outlets, and has recently warmed to the idea of coming up with a plan for leagues to return sooner rather than later. But he’s also been quick to cast doubt on the idea that leagues would actually return this season.

As the NBA and NHL look toward plans for a return and/or how to plan next season – and as Major League Baseball tries to figure out a way to get their season started – Dr. Fauci wondered in a new Q&A with the New York Times whether they’d be able to ensure enough safety to actually reopen for business.

Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a regular at President Donald Trump’s daily COVID-19 briefings, acknowledges that it may not be impossible to come up with a way to keep players and stadium workers safe, particularly if they play games without fans in attendance. But he also cautioned sports fans not to get their hopes too high.

“I don’t want to make this conversation sound like it’s going to be an easy thing. We may not be able to pull this off. We’re going to have to see: Is it doable? Do we have the capability of doing it safely? Because safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discusses the Zika virus during remarks before the Economic Club of Washington January 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. Fauci said that there is no indication that anyone has been bitten by a mosquito in the United States and acquired the Zika virus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 29: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discusses the Zika virus during remarks before the Economic Club of Washington January 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. Fauci said that there is no indication that anyone has been bitten by a mosquito in the United States and acquired the Zika virus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Dr. Fauci had previously said that it seems feasible for leagues to return in the summer – if they can isolate and test players and game day staffers, and make sure that it’s safe to have them all in the building together and interacting with each other. He’s just also making a habit to say, “Yeah but we could just be dreaming.” “Yeah, but.” “Yeah…”

The guy’s not going to say what you want to hear. It’s pretty clear that Dr. Fauci is not really the one to ask about sports and whether we’ll get them back in the summer or any time soon. His focus is on public health, not entertainment or the economy. And he’s likely not the one to make decisions on reopening leagues, anyway.

For now you can hold on to the glimmer of hope he keeps giving that leagues will get creative to get their games back on our TVs. Let’s wish it into existence like the bunch of sports-starved lunatics we are.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.