Is The Start Of The 2020 NFL Season Threatened by Coronavirus?
The start of the new NFL league year may be pushed back for the first time since 2011 as a result of the coronavirus.
Officially, the NFL says it’s business as usual. However, a number of team officials have expressed doubts that this is possible.
These team officials told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the start of free agency is problematic considering the outbreak of coronavirus.
The in-person visits and workouts will be at odds with the WHO’s advice on social distancing. A number of teams have already prohibited their scouts and player personnel from travelling.
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The NFL has taken some steps to combat the spread of coronavirus. The first of which was to prohibit pre-draft visits for draft hopefuls. The ruling prevents draft prospects from taking part in pro days and visiting team headquarters.
Teams can now only communicate with prospects remotely, and those communications must be reported to the league.
As well as that, the NFL has cancelled it’s annual meeting, which was due to take place on March 29 in Florida.
Some sources told Schefter that the league is waiting for the results of the NFL Players Association’s vote on the new collective bargaining agreement. Voting ended on Saturday, with a majority needed to pass. This would at least prevent a third delay to the CBA decision.
As it stands, the tampering period for free agents will begin on Monday, as scheduled.
There are 2,000 cases of the virus in the U.S, with around 150,000 worldwide. The NBA, MLB, NHL have already suspended their seasons. Domestic soccer across Europe is now suspended, including the Premier League. Given the precautions being taken in those leagues, and with little indication as to how this plays out, how long until we’re talking about the start of the 2020 NFL season being postponed?