The NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants will play their home games without fans at MetLife Stadium until further notice due to health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the teams confirmed Monday.
MetLife Stadium is located in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy ruled that his ban on outdoor public gatherings of more than 500 people applies to live sporting events. In a joint statement, the Jets and Giants said the decision was reached after conversations with team officials about the current state of the pandemic.
“We support Governor Murphy's decision in the interest of public health and safety and, until circumstances change, we will play our games without the benefit of fans in attendance,” the teams said. “Although we would prefer to have fans at MetLife Stadium for our games, we will continue to work with Governor Murphy's office and will provide updates if necessary.”
Both teams announced that their training camps will be closed to the public to prevent further spread of the virus. NFL players are scheduled to report to training camp on July 28.
Murphy’s decision also applies to Rutgers University’s football team and other sporting events that typically draw large crowds. NJ Advance Media was first to report the details.
“While we look forward to the day we can return to games as normal and cheer from the stands, continued concerns for the health and safety of fans, team members, and staff dictate that our executive order limiting outdoor gatherings does apply to sporting events, including training camp,” Murphy said in a statement. “We will continue to closely monitor the public health reality and work with health experts to determine how to move forward, and we will continue to work closely with the teams as conditions change.”
The NFL scheduled a conference call with player representatives Monday to discuss health and safety protocols. A number of prominent players, including Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, have expressed concern about the league’s plans.
At present, the NFL is planning to play a full schedule this fall.