The NFL did move to address what it viewed as a competitive imbalance when it informed teams in a memo Tuesday that all teams’ facilities will be closed beginning Wednesday at 6 p.m. That policy is to be reassessed April 8, according to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.
“To ensure that all clubs operate on a level playing field, and that the NFL continues to conduct itself in a responsible way at this time, it is appropriate to outline certain principles that will apply during the current period,” the NFL’s memo to teams said. “These principles have been reviewed with and endorsed by the Competition Committee and will remain in effect until further notice.”
The league’s decision to close all team facilities did not come solely in response to the recommendation of a seven-member committee of general managers that the draft be postponed. The NFL already had planned to study the issue this week, with some teams having closed their facilities and others keeping them open.
But those competitive imbalances were a concern of the GM committee, which advises the league on a variety of football operational issues.
The GMs also were concerned about other issues affecting draft preparations, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. Draft-eligible players have been prohibited from visiting teams, and teams were barred from allowing coaches and scouts to attend players’ pro-day workouts on college campuses. The issues raised by the GMs’ committee were first reported by ESPN.
The draft has been reduced to a TV-only event, but the league intends to keep it where it is on the calendar, the person familiar with the NFL’s planning said.
The live event in Las Vegas associated with the draft has been canceled. It could be staged at the Los Angeles studios of the league-owned NFL Network.
Some but not all teams previously had closed their facilities, sending staffers to work from home. The league’s order issued in Tuesday’s memo exempts employees providing medical care to players, security employees and IT experts.
“The challenges we face are not unique — many businesses and individuals throughout the country are experiencing and addressing similar issues,” the memo said. “Please be assured that the NFL is well-positioned to meet these operational challenges as we prepare to offer our fans and the country an outstanding 2020 NFL season.”
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