By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Roger Goodell is back to doing what he does best, laying down the law even when nobody wants him to. This time around, it relates to next month’s NFL Draft.
Tuesday night, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the NFL’s General Manger subcommittee had unanimously recommended Goodell move back the draft due to COVID-19. Goodell responded in turn saying the league would go on with the draft on the already scheduled dates (April 23-25).
Goodell took this one step further Thursday night. In a memo sent to teams, Goodell threatened any teams or league individuals who may argue with his decision. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the memo read, in part, “public discussion of issues relating to the draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.”
That seems a bit severe, punishing teams for talking about issues surrounding the draft when it seems like every other major event in the sports world has been postponed or canceled. The NHL draft has already been pushed back, and Major League Baseball’s June draft is expected to follow suit soon.
Meanwhile, the NFL is looking for a ‘virtual solution’ to keep things as close to normal as possible, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The league is hoping to find a way to incorporate both teams and players into the broadcast from their homes or other quarantined locations.
Still, this feels a bit surprising and outside of the league’s general MO. Roger Goodell’s calling card as commissioner has been cashing in on every single marketing opportunity. The NFL Draft is the closest thing we have to live sports right now, and it looks like things will stay that way for some time.
By pushing the draft back, the NFL would keep themselves at the center of the conversation for those looking for non-coronavirus related sports news. Once the draft happens, the only discussion around football becomes ‘will OTAs happen on time?’
Yet the NFL apparently plans to power ahead with their draft plans. It’s hard to call anything a month away ‘certain’ with everything going on in the world, but Roger Goodell isn’t about to let that stop him.
In the meantime, you can check out both of our latest mock drafts: