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Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and teams in the city are making it clear where they stand on the potential return of sports in the near future.
On Monday, Lightfoot and all professional sports franchises in Chicago unveiled a new awareness campaign, "We Are Not Playing," which encourages the public to comply with stay-at-home restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports ESPN's Michele Steele. Those teams have agreed to use their platforms and players to communicate the messaging.
"We'd rather be here in Soldier Field, or Wrigley, or Sox park, or at the United Center, or Wintrust (Arena), cheering on our players and having a good time with our friends, but this crisis has changed almost everything - and particularly our sports," Lightfoot said. "Coming to these parks would be dangerous and deadly to ourselves and our city."
When asked about the chance of playing games without fans in the stands, Lightfoot spoke to the complexity of the situation.
"We're not there yet," she responded. "Various sports leagues are talking about a number of different options."
The mayor went on to recognize teams that have announced plans to compensate day-game staff over lost revenue.
"I want to commend the team leaders who have announced their plans to continue supporting these employees despite games being canceled," Lightfoot said. "It's these kinds of actions that will allow our city to get through this crisis and get back on track as quickly as possible."
On March 11, the NBA became the first professional sports league to suspend its season. The majority of other North American leagues followed suit shortly after.