ALBANY — In the wake of a petition drive urging that he be "banned" from joining fans at the Buffalo Bills' playoff game Saturday,
Gov. Andrew Cuomo pivoted Wednesday, announcing he will not attend the contest after all.
Cuomo's decision came after an avid Bills fan got more than 41,000 people to sign the online petition on change.org. The organizer of the campaign, Jeffrey Dorenzo, had signaled he was organizing a protest to greet Cuomo at the Orchard Park stadium.
Cuomo worked out a plan to allow 6,700 fans to attend the playoff game after the Bills agreed to an intensive testing protocol of those who will be entering the stadium.
During the regular season, due to the state's pandemic restrictions, fans were not allowed to attend games as the Bills went on to capture the American Football Conference championship, putting the team in contention for the Super Bowl.
"So Cuomo is going to attend our playoff game after telling us that we can only attend at less than 10% capacity?," his petition statted. "If he thinks he has more right to a seat in that stadium over people who have waited over 20 years for this opportunity, then people better be there to protest his entry. This is OUR team! This is OUR home. We don't want you here."
Once the results of those contests are confirmed, Cuomo said he believes the U.S. Senate will flip to Democratic control, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, he current minority leader, will be catapulted. into the majority leader position.
The governor said he will donate his playoff ticket to a nurse at Erie County Medical Association.
Dorenzo had told Buffalo radio station WBEN earlier this week that he wasn't expecting his petition would drive any results.
Dorenzo, a 2008 graduate of Buffalo State College, part of the SUNY public university system now controlled by Cuomo, was not immediately available for comment.