The NFL has been the one major sport in North America that has managed to navigate through the coronavirus outbreak without deviating much from its original schedule.
Much of that has to do with the fact that the league is in the middle of its offseason. But you won’t hear many sports fans complaining about that as football is providing some much-needed storylines for the starving fan.
After a frenzied start to the new league year in mid-March — including Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and DeAndre Hopkins being traded from the Houston Texans to Arizona Cardinals — the 2020 NFL Draft is still slated to start on April 23.
Granted, it had to be downsized for that to potentially happen.
Originally set to take place in Las Vegas where millions of football fans were set to flock, the NFL decided that the draft would take place in a studio setting. All while alerting general managers and team personnel that they should be prepared for the occasion while using as few people as possible.
On top of that, they have to stay away from team facilities — naturally — because of coronavirus.
That in itself is leaving teams underprepared for the draft process as their war rooms will be reduced to almost nothing.
Then comes the issue that the NFL looks tone-deaf while conducting this “business-as-usual” attitude.
The rest of the sports world is shut down. No games are being played, no activities are taking place, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are being infected with an incurable virus, and commissioner Roger Goodell has practically put blinders on.
It’s understandable why some will be yearning for the draft to go down at its normal time. The country needs something to take their mind off what’s going on out there, after all.
But at what cost?
Finally, ESPN insider Adam Schefter said what a lot of us were thinking this week — which isn’t an easy thing to do when he is one of the biggest personalities around the NFL.
“We all want to see the days where we have the distraction of football,” Schefter said. “OTAs? That’s not happening. The offseason program? That’s not happening. The draft is happening only through the sheer force and determination and lack of foresight from the NFL. They are determined to put this on while there is carnage in the streets.”
The coronavirus outbreak is still going to get worse before it gets better, which means the draft taking place during the peak of the pandemic.
It’s just not smart for anyone, especially when the league’s No. 1 priority right now should be looking out for the health and well-being of its future players and staff.