While the NBA and other major sports were greatly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, the most popular league in the United States remains far from making tough decisions whether to suspend games or cancel an entire season.
The National Football League (NFL) managed to move through its offseason without experiencing any interruptions. The new NFL season will start nearly six months from now in September.
The league, however, emphasized that they cannot continue with their routinary proceedings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL’s Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills also stated that the league doesn’t consider itself fortunate because they weren’t greatly affected by the outbreak.
He added: “This is a global health crisis, and we in the NFL, as a major part of the fabric of American life, are extremely concerned about this. We take very seriously our responsibility in these times.”
The mentioned responsibilities include the NFL draft, how the league is recommending tests for the virus, and how regular business is managed and conducted during the offseason.
The NFL Draft
In an interview with USA TODAY Sports, Sills addressed the league’s efforts to help mitigate the spreading of COVID-19. In the interview, it was stated that the NFL draft will still be televised but there will be no public crowd or events this time. However, the league is still working on the details of whether to allow the players to take the stage like they normally do.
“We realize it will be an extremely heavily viewed event, and we will have the opportunity to use our platform to reinforce what the appropriate measures are,” Sills stated.
Therefore, the league plans to abide by the federal government’s recommendation to avoid discretionary travel and social gatherings, in accordance with the strict order of public health authorities.
Just recently, the NBA received criticism after conducting tests on several teams, including players who are not showing any symptoms of the virus. This action led to a negative perception that wealthy people have easy access to the testing kits while those who need it don’t.
The NFL’s stand, however, is limited to testing players only if the criteria and recommendations of public health authorities are met.
“We believe that only players who are symptomatic or have a high degree of exposure should be tested. Those are the principles that are guiding our testing at this time,” Sills said in an interview.
Furthermore, Sills refused to reveal how many NFL players or personnel in the league have been tested. In relation to the tests being conducted, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton recently announced that he came out positive for COVID-19, making him the first confirmed case in the NFL.
In an interview with ESPN, Payton urged everyone to follow social distancing guidelines and expert advice to prevent the spread of the illness that has now affected the capacity of the U.S. healthcare system.
“Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. It’s not complicated to do what they’re asking of us. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact,” Payton told ESPN.
NFL Handling Business in the Offseason
It was previously reported that most NFL employees were advised to work from home like other businesses to help alleviate the spread of the virus.
“If you look at our league offices … we only have essential personnel who are present on a day-to-day basis, and everyone else is working remotely. We’ve switched all our meetings over 10 people to virtual or phone meetings. That’s the behavior we’re taking from a league standpoint, and that’s what we’re asking all our clubs as well,” Sills told USA TODAY.
While NFL arbitrage betting is currently put on hold during the offseason, there are still a lot of sports betting platforms that bettors can participate in such as Asian handicap arbitrage and other sports arbitrage betting. However, it might be a good idea to do betting online during these tough times.
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