COVID-19 and Sports; The NFL Did the Right Thing to Hold the 2020 Draft

The NFL’s Virtual Draft Reminds is of the Importance of Sports


The Draft Stage for the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, TX

Kevin Duffy, Writer

March 12th was the last day in which the American public got to enjoy live sports. Who would have thought that the next peep we would hear from the sports’ world would come from a casually dressed Roger Goodell from his basement?

The decision to press the pause button on live sports was indeed the right one, but so was the NFL’s decision to continue with their college-player draft, the biggest event of the offseason. Debate circled on whether or not holding a draft as scheduled would seem tone-deaf to the obvious and apparent challenges currently facing millions of Americans, but it was obvious the viewing public saw it as something else, an escape. 

Throughout trying times in our history, sports has come through to provide a much needed distraction. While some look at sports as simply watching grown men or women play games, its place in our society can prove to be much more important in times like these.

Many moments, even recent moments, come to mind.

The Astros winning the World Series in 2017, which, regardless of sign stealing, was a much needed escape for a city still reeling after Hurricane Harvey a few months prior.

NFL fans will remember Steve Gleason’s blocked punt in 2006 for the New Orleans Saints in their first home game after Hurricane Katrina.

Or perhaps the national anthem before the New York Yankees’ first game after 9/11. 

While the NFL Draft itself may not have roaring crowds and raucous environments, it is true that sports, even when it’s not an actual game being played, can help ease a worried nation. This was the most watched draft in history, with each day setting a new record for ratings. 15.6 million people watched the first round, which provided nearly 4 hours of fresh, new, sports content. 

The NFL is a corporation that has received its fair share of deserved criticism over the years, and perhaps no man in the sports world had been more disliked than its CEO and commissioner, Roger Goodell. However, we got to peek into his own basement of his presumably multi-million dollar New York mansion, there is not, nor should there be, any criticism of him or his league for holding a draft all of us will remember. 

Analysts and pundits around the country will talk about the draft, grade picks, and address how each team did, but the truth of the matter still remains that sports will continue to serve a purpose, even during a time in which physical games cannot be played.

Who knows if the annual tradition of welcoming football back into our lives in late August and early September will look the same this year, but the NFL draft did provide, for at the very least, three days, an escape to what most would call a sense of normalcy.