NFL coronavirus fallout: League is requiring employees to work from home; Free agency still starting on time


Less than 24 hours after the NBA decided to suspend its season, the NFL has made its first major move in an effort to thwart the spread of coronavirus. 

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that the league will be requiring a majority of its employees to work from home beginning on Friday, March 13. According to NFL.com, the only employees who won’t be working from home are people that the league has deemed as “operationally critical staff.” 

The NFL is making the move “out of an abundance of caution and with the health and safety of our communities as our foremost priority.”

The league made the decision due to the the ongoing spread of COVID-19, which is the technical name of this strain of coronavirus. As of Wednesday, the disease has been labeled a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 has already claimed 38 lives in the United States and nearly 4,800 lives overall around the world, according to Johns Hopkins. As of March 12, a total of 1,323 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the U.S., including two Utah Jazz players, along with Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. 

With the spread of the virus ongoing, many NFL teams have made the decision to pull their scouts off the road, which means they won’t be attending any college Pro Days in the near future. According to ESPN.com, multiple NFL teams are also discussing the possibility of shutting down their facilities for the time being. If teams decide to send their employees home, that could make it difficult for the NFL to start free agency on time, but despite that fact, free agency is still scheduled to begin on March 18. 

The league has said in a statement that there are “no plans to move the start of the league year.”

One other big question the NFL is going to have to answer is to whether or not to hold the draft. The one advantage for the NFL is that the draft is basically the one event on the NFL calendar that can be held without people interacting in-person. Although the league could end up canceling the public portion of the event in Las Vegas, the actual player selection part could be held via video teleconference with Roger Goodell still announcing the picks on television. 

As things currently stand, the league hasn’t made a decision on the draft, but it is closely monitoring all developments related to coronavirus. 





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