Roger Goodell Releases Statement Ahead of Start of NFL Training Camp

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is moving forward to hold the upcoming football season during the coronavirus pandemic. But while there are hopes that the schedule can be played out, Goodell acknowledges there are some hurdles and unprecedented challenges that the league will face in the coming weeks and months.

As teams prepare to report to training camp this week, the commissioner released a lengthy statement addressing the league’s return and plan.

“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,” Goodell wrote in a letter. “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.”

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One of the safety measures the league will be taking is limited seating at games where fans are permitted in the stadium. And if fans do decide to attend a game, they will be required to wear masks or face coverings.

“The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years. 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,” he added. “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.

“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. Thank you for your continued support. Now let’s play football.”

The league will also punish players who test positive for COVID-19 after any unsanctioned off-field activities.

So, buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.

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