Tagged in: Roger Goodell

NFL to allow teams to open facilities on Tuesday with several restrictions

A memo from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to all 32 NFL teams states franchises can start reopening their facilities with strict guidelines starting May 19 as long as state and local regulations permit them to do so.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided the memo Friday, and Goodell wrote the following in part in his announcement of the news: “Clubs may reopen their facilities beginning on May 19 if they are permitted to do so under governing state and local regulations, are in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by [NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills] and distributed to all clubs on May 6.”

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Of note, clubs cannot have more than 50 percent of their staffs (and a max of 75 people) inside the facility at the same time. If a franchise wishes to spread out over multiple locations, the max number of people allowed still stays at 75 over all locations combined.

Coaches are not allowed to return to facilities in an effort to promote competitive equity among all 32 teams, some of which will not be able to travel back to headquarters May 19.

Players also cannot go to the facility unless they are rehabbing an injury or receiving treatment. “Customer-facing activities,” with examples including ticket and merchandise sales, are not permitted yet.

Teams must also report any case of COVID-19 to the league. The NFL news follows reports that NBA facilities have started to reopen, with a handful of teams doing so on Friday, May 8. Like the NFL, the NBA is also under heavy restriction, although players are allowed to work out on an individual basis.

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NFL confirms virtual draft with team personnel at their homes

The NFL draft will be performed in a virtual format, with team personnel working from their homes.

In a memo sent to the 32 teams Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined procedures for the April 23-25 draft. The guidelines contained no group gatherings.

“We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the competition committee and CEC (a group of league executives),” Goodell wrote, “and this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”

All team facilities were closed on March 26 and Goodell has ordered them to stay shut indefinitely.

“We will reopen facilities when it is safe to do so based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates,” he wrote.

The draft initially was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, but the NFL canceled all public events last month as a safeguard against the coronavirus.

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On Monday, Goodell instructed the teams on how they should plan to make their selections.

“We have made this decision for several reasons,” he wrote. “All clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way.

“Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices. Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisers, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”

Several team general managers had sought a delay in the draft, basically citing an unfair playing field.

But the owners pushed for the draft, the NFL’s biggest offseason event, to take place as scheduled.

It is up to each team to ensure not only safe and healthy conditions, but to offset any perceived competitive imbalance under the directions set forth by Goodell.

“We are operating in an environment unlike anything we have experienced before,” Goodell added, “one that requires flexibility, patience, and cooperation.”

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