Roger Goodell Says NFL Plans to Start Training Camps on Time amid Pandemic

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2020

UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - APRIL 23: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this still image from video provided by the NFL, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks from his home in Bronxville, New York during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, 2020. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league plans on opening training camps next month as planned and is seemingly determined to move forward with fan attendance.

Goodell told reporters the plan is to "get ready for games at our stadiums and to engage our fans both in stadiums and through our media partners" on a conference call Thursday.

While Goodell added that the league office is discussing options with the NFL Players Association, the league has offered no alternative solutions or indicated any plans to change course beyond the status quo despite the COVID-19 pandemic nearing its fourth month in the United States.

Coronavirus cases have been skyrocketing in states that were among the earliest to reopen during the pandemic. Texas and Florida have become rapidly rising epicenters of the disease, with each state setting several records for hospitalizations and cases in recent weeks.

The United States posted its single-day record of coronavirus cases Wednesday.

While the NHL and NBA have put together plans that eliminate fan attendance and MLB's 2020 season will either eliminate or greatly reduce fan attendance, the NFL seemingly plans to move forward without changes to its policies. The league has said it will listen to the medical community, but its plan for fan attendance at events runs contrary to suggestions made by director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

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"Unless players are essentially in a bubble—insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day—it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall," Fauci told CNN. "If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year."

With COVID-19 cases spiking and state governments showing no signs of going back to stricter guidelines, it's hard to imagine the situation being solved by the scheduled July 28 opening of training camps in a safe enough manner to host fans. 

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