During a bleak and uncertain time, the sports world is coming together once again after postponed and canceled sports seasons with the virtual airing of the NFL Draft.
The NFL Draft began on Thursday, April 23, and will run until Saturday, April 25. The NFL made the decision to go strictly virtual and Montclair State University sports fans are especially excited to hear this news.
Ben Berube, a senior television and digital media major, is looking forward to the draft.
“As a fan of sports, I can’t wait for it because I want action in the sporting world,” Berube said. “The draft always gets me excited, and it’s an escape for me from all this virus talk. I want people to be safe, and it seems like they’re taking the right precautions to do this safely.”
The NFL said that it is taking the proper precautions to make sure everything runs smoothly. For example, personnel will be in separate locations in order to ensure everyone is at a safe distance.
According to ESPN, the decision-makers will be working from home. Athletes will also be home while partaking in remote videos to show their reactions. According to Associated Press, 58 players received video kits from the NFL that will record their reactions to being selected.
Daniel Cardona, a junior exercise science major, thinks the NFL is doing a good job given the circumstances.
“I think that they’re doing a good job at keeping it as professional as possible,” Cardona said. “Considering the safety of all the NFL, it was crucial that this draft be done online. I’m looking forward to seeing the way they organize training and utilizing these players in such a weird time.”
Roger Goodwell, commissioner of the NFL, said in a release, “The NFL moved ahead with a virtual draft during the coronavirus pandemic because it wanted to provide hope to a sports world in need of it.”
Goodwell emphasized that “People look to us for optimism. They look to us for bringing communities together.”
Even though the programming of the draft has changed, fans are still very much looking forward to the outcome of the draft.
“I want to see how the players will react to getting drafted online,” Cardona said. “I’m excited to see the way this whole thing is run.”
The virtual NFL draft began broadcasting the first round Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.. The second and third rounds are on Friday from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and the remaining four rounds are on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m..
ABC will have its own broadcast on Thursday and Friday, while ESPN and NFL Network will simulcast all three rounds. ABC will simulcast with ESPN and NFL Network for rounds 4 through 7.
During these times of hardship, the sports world now has a way to come back together again, and they will be able to find unity during this pandemic.