Concern over COVID-19 is hitting an all-time high after it was revealed that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the disease on Wednesday. The suspension of the NBA season quickly followed and many other sports have taken similar precautions. While NFL games won’t be played for several months, the league still has some big decisions to make.
One of the biggest decisions they face is what exactly they plan to do with the NFL Draft in Las Vegas. The event won’t take place until the end of April, so it’s likely the NFL will take their time making a big decision. They’ve remained relatively silent, but Las Vegas Raiders owner, who is very involved with the event, spoke to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News and gave an update.
“The league office, the players association and the city and the state are working together,” Davis said late Wednesday. “They’re making a measured decision. Healthy and safety will always will be No. 1.”
Davis doubled down and ensured that the NFL won’t put anybody at risk.
“They’ll make the correct decision. They won’t put anyone in jeopardy over it.”
The Las Vegas Draft Is Supposed to Be Quite the Spectacle
There’s still plenty of time for the NFL to take their time and get a better idea of the best plan of action for the draft. However, considering how quickly other leagues are reacting to the coronavirus concern, the league could just play it safe and cancel the event. That would be a big blow to the Raiders and Las Vegas as they had some big plans for the draft.
The red carpet was supposed to be at the Bellagio and future draftees were going to take a boat to and from the stage. There were loads of events planned and it was going to be the first time the Raiders could showcase their new city to the world. There’s still a possibility it happens, but Davis previously predicted 750,000 people would attend, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It seems very unlikely that attendance will reach that level should the event continue to move forward.
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NFL Doesn’t Plan to Postpone League Year
As many in the sports world are taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus, the NFL has decided to not postpone the start of the new league year, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The most notable thing about the NFL not postponing the start of the league year is that free agency should continue to be business as usual. Teams and players will be able to start negotiating deals as early as March 16th. This can be done remotely so it doesn’t put players or personnel at risk.
While the start of the league year remains unchanged, the NFL did reportedly make a big move to keep draftees safe. Per Erik Burkhardt, all draftee facility visits have been canceled.
This news shouldn’t greatly affect some of the top players in the draft, but it could be a blow for some fringe guys who were hoping to win a team over.