Goodell: ‘Adaptability and flexibility will be needed’
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a letter to fans on Monday, saying he hopes football will “provide some much-needed optimism” while acknowledging the league faces numerous challenges.
The letter came on the eve of the opening of training camps and on the day Major League Baseball had to reckon with an outbreak of the coronavirus on at least one team.
“In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, we have navigated the time carefully, thoughtfully and in partnership with the NFL Players Association with a shared goal of playing a healthy and complete 2020 season,” wrote Goodell, who has been commissioner since 2006. “This process has not been easy — COVID-19 will continue to present a major challenge to nearly every area of American life. Football is no exception.
“Every step of the way, our focus has been on the safety of players, coaches, personnel, fans and our communities. Our planning has followed the lead of medical experts and public health officials, including the CDC, the White House Task Force, governors and state health officials. As we have developed our 2020 playbook for the return of football, safety continues to be our first priority; that commitment will remain paramount as players return to the field.”
Goodell listed some of the ways the league will look different in 2020: regular COVID-19 testing for players and staff; the cancellation of preseason games; and few, if any, fans in the stands. He said the NFL will have to be vigilant and also able to change.
“Adaptability and flexibility will be needed for the foreseeable future. After all, even the best game plan changes as new challenges arise,” he wrote. “This year’s NFL Draft is a good example that embracing change can still deliver the fun and excitement we all crave.
“While this year will forever be defined by a heartbreaking global pandemic and a transformative social justice movement, I am reminded of the tenacious, resilient spirit of our country, the NFL community, and you, the greatest fans in the world.”
The season is scheduled to start on Sept. 10 when the Houston Texans visit the Kansas City Chiefs.
–Field Level Media