Roger Goodell has made what most people thought was a tough call by announcing that the NFL Draft is going on as scheduled. Goodell also announced the league is looking at a way to pull it off but keep everyone safe during the coronavirus outbreak. While there are plenty of people in and around the league who believe the draft can be pulled off and keep people plenty safe, there are still some who are quite angry at the commissioner for not moving the draft date back.
As Jason Owens with Yahoo Sports reported, people aren’t mad at Goodell because he’s putting them in danger of getting COVID-19. Owens points out there are anonymous league officials who are upset because they wanted the draft moved back so they would have more time to scout potential players.
The coronavirus outbreak has put a damper on in-person visits by scouts and other front office people. “Pro Days” were canceled all over college football because of the pandemic. Now those same officials are wishing they had more time to look at the players who will be up for draft next month.
Owens also says there are unnamed sources out there who are not happy with the way Goodell handled the announcement of the draft staying put on its regular weekend. The NFL commissioner made it very clear that anybody publicly ripping him to the media could face some rather severe consequences.
People have gone to people like Owens anonymously specifically because they don’t want to face punishment.
Peter King’s column on ProFootballTalk had similar comments from people around the NFL. King says he had one front-office veteran text him asking the question, “why on earth would you ever threaten an opinion?” He said another texted him the simple question, “whatever happened to freedom of speech?”
The writer points out this doesn’t actually appear to be a freedom of speech issue. Goodell doesn’t work for the government and he’s not even threatening their job directly. He simply doesn’t want to hear any opposing viewpoints from those who work for him.
Both reports seem to wonder why scouts and personnel are so upset about Goodell’s ruling. Most people around the league thought the NFL Draft was going to go off at or around the same date no matter what. It’s a ceremony that doesn’t need a live audience – even if it had one for years – and it doesn’t need someone running slips of paper to and from the podium. Roger Goodell believes the league can pull it off just fine even if there are others who want it moved back.