The NFL has decided to proceed with this year’s Draft, however, they will do so without fans in attendance.
The long-standing tradition of fans cheering their team’s draft picks and booing the commissioner at every opportunity, will be absent from April 23-25 as the NFL moves to comply with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and other health officials.
“This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “While the outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the city of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”
NFL announcement on its draft plans: pic.twitter.com/ynRG3Bw6fw
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2020
The league does still plan to televise the Draft. On Sunday, the CDC issued a recommendation to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more. It was not long after that the NFL decided to cancel public events at the Draft in Las Vegas. However, even without fans in attendance, between players, families, NFL executives, and television personnel, there would still be well over 50 people in the building.
So, as the league statement says, “innovative options” will indeed have to be proposed for how the selection process would play out in a way that doesn’t run afoul of CDC guidelines.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn