The NFL can’t escape coronavirus, either.
While the other major professional sports leagues in North America have seen suspensions and postponements, the NFL made some changes to its offseason plan.
In a joint statement with the NFL Players Association, the league pushed back the start of team activities — originally scheduled for Apr. 6 for teams with new head coaches and Apr. 20 for returnees — opting to “periodically meet and reassess the the public health situation” to figure out a start date.
In that time, the two sides will meet to develop protocols for facility cleaning and maintenance, equipment preparation and identifying players who may be at elevated risk.
“It is our responsibility to work together and protect the health, safety and well-bing of everyone in out business,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. “Nonetheless, public safety is paramount during this national emergency and we will continue to work with the NFL, medical experts and seek guidance from federal agencies to adjust our business practices accordingly.”
The memo also notes that free agents are barred from visiting club facilities to meet with personnel as the league and NFLPA work to figure out how to conduct medical exams and record reviews.
Players already under contract are also barred from team facilities for the next to weeks.
“Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union’s medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff and our communities,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medial and public health experience and will be prepared to made further modifications as needed.”
Earlier in the week, the league announced the 2020 NFL draft — scheduled for April in Las Vegas — and events related to it will be held without fans due to the coronavirus.