The sports world has been shut down since the end of March during the coronavirus pandemic which has had a stronghold on the world. But things are starting to shift. As people come to grips, and learn more, about the virus itself, sports teams/leagues are making plans to re-open.
Major League Soccer saw some teams resume practices recently, and the PGA Tour is slated to return to play at the beginning of June, without fans for the first four events.
Whether there will be fans in attendance for any of these events is up for debate, and won’t likely be resolved anytime soon, but sports are clearly on their way back sooner, rather than later.
But what about the NFL? Despite being in their offseason, fans are wondering if Organized Team Activities (OTAs), minicamps and even training camp will be going on as planned. On Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell shed some light on this topic in a memo sent to all 32 NFL teams regarding the reopening of team facilities.
“The protocols are intended to allow for a safe and phased reopening,” Goodell wrote. “The first phase would involve a number of non-player personnel. ... No players would be permitted in the facility except to continue a course of therapy and rehabilitation that was underway when facilities were initially closed.
“Clubs should take steps to have these protocols in place by Friday, May 15 in anticipation of being advised when club facilities will formally reopen.”
It should be noted that prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, Goodell was interviewed by NFL.com’s Judy Batista and stated how no team facility will be permitted to open until all team facilities are opened up according to their state law. So, if the state of Pennsylvania allows the Steelers and Eagles to return to work, but California has not lifted their ordinances, no NFL teams will be permitted to getting back to work. It is deemed as an unfair advantage.
“That principle remains intact,” McCarthy’s statement began. “This memo outlines the actions clubs will take to have the protocols in place by May 15. After that time, clubs will be advised when facilities could formally reopen. These steps include the clubs reviewing their plans with the appropriate state and local officials. It’s anticipated there will be further discussion on the reopening of facilities at the May 19 league owners virtual meeting.”
These are unprecedented times we are living in, and the NFL is being prepared to hit the ground running if/when all states are allowing businesses to re-open. When will that happen?
“It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring,” Goodell stated, but being prepared is a key step to this process for the NFL and all sports leagues preparing to resume play.