NFL cancels public events around 2020 draft next month in Las Vegas

Posted: 11:09 AM, Mar 16, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-16 12:09:29-04
Scripps 2016 NFL Mock Draft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Big changes are coming to one of the NFL’s crown-jewel events amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The league announced Monday that all NFL-sanctioned public events surrounding the 2020 NFL Draft have been canceled.

According to a statement from the NFL, the draft will proceed as scheduled April 23-25 in Las Vegas and it will be televised, but the rest of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event won’t take place.

The decision was made “in consideration of current information related to COVID-19 and guidance from medical experts such as the CDC, and in coordination with public authorities in Nevada and the City of Las Vegas,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in a statement from the league.

"This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens," Goodell said. "While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl."

The news comes one day after the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association reached a new collective bargaining agreement that should ensure labor peace through 2030.

By a close vote, NFL players have approved a new labor agreement with the league that features a 17-game regular season.

It also includes higher salaries, increased roster sizes and larger pensions for current and former players.

Terms of the new CBA were accepted by the 32 team owners last month.

Ratification by membership of the NFL Players Association required a simple majority. The union announced Sunday that 1,019 voted for the new CBA and 959 voted against it.

Some fear there could be lasting resentment among many union members, given how close the vote was.

Soon after the union announced the results, it began discussing with the league Wednesday's planned opening of the 2020 NFL business season.

A delay is possible given league restrictions on travel as a safeguard against the new coronavirus.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.