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Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is not a fan of the idea of playing games without fans in the stadium, as the coronavirus pandemic is sure to affect whether there are any spectators in 2020.
Donald said during a video conference with NFL media on Thursday that playing in front of empty seats “wouldn’t be fun to me.”
“I feel like you need fans to play the game,” Donald said. “I don’t see how you could play a game without the fans. I feel like that takes out the excitement and the fun out of the game.”
Donald has had double-digit sacks in four out of his six professional seasons. Last year, Donald recorded 12.5 sacks and 48 total tackles in all of the Rams’ 16 games. He’s been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his six seasons.
The Rams’ star knows that the decision isn’t up to him on whether fans can return to the stadiums in 2020, but feels that they add a certain element to the game.
“I feel like the fans pick you up,” he said. “The fans are what makes the game exciting. The fans would give you that extra juice when you're tired and fatigued. When you make that big play and you hear 80,000 fans going crazy, that pumps you up. If you don't have that in the game, I think that just takes the fun out of it.”
Los Angeles is set to play in the brand new SoFi Stadium, but Donald would hope that by September he’s able to enter the stadium with thousands of screaming fans.
“You practice and practice and practice, and you prepare to play a game and be on a big stage and play in front of a crowd,” Donald said. “Without fans, I don’t see how that could be possible. There’s just no excitement.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.