Conceding that the 2020 season will “not look like other years,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to fans detailing the league’s plans to play during the coronavirus pandemic.
NFL veterans began reporting to training camps this week. In his letter, Goodell wrote that COVID-19 “has turned the world upside down,” while also confirming that all preseason games have been canceled.
“COVID-19 will continue to present a major challenge to nearly every area of American life. Football is no exception,” Goodell wrote.
“Every step of the way, our focus has been on the safety of players, coaches, personnel, fans and our communities,” Goodell wrote. “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.
“The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years,” Goodell continued. “Players and coaches will be tested for the virus regularly, including every day for a while. Preseason games have been canceled. Everyone in the team environment must follow rigorous health and safety protocols to keep themselves and each other safe. When there is a positive test, strict regulations will be enforced to isolate and care for that individual and to contain the virus before it spreads.
“Even the sideline will look different. And, state and local health guidelines will help determine whether fans will attend the games. These adjustments are necessary to reduce the risk for everyone involved.”
The NFL, unlike the NBA, NHL, MLS and WNBA, did not create a bubble environment for its athletes. Major League Baseball, which also did not use the bubble environment, has already had to postpone three regular-season games because of players testing positive for COVID-19.
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