NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Gets Virtually Booed For Charity During Draft, Donates Proceeds To Coronavirus Relief
The tradition of booing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continued on Thursday night even as the 2020 NFL Draft was held virtually, adhering to social distancing rules amid the coronavirus outbreak. Goodell gave his opening remarks and thanked essential workers for their tough job of treating patients infected with the disease as they attempt to combat COVID-19.
He then turned his attention to the fans who were virtually watching the draft and said, “It’s a draft tradition, and one I generally enjoy.” Behind him on a monitor were several fans “in attendance” through a video chat as Goodell egged them on to boo louder (below).
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 24, 2020
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Before the draft started, Goodell appeared in a Bud Light Seltzer commercial on ESPN urging fans to use the hashtag #boothecommish. Goodell appeared on his couch with his dog and announced that the alcoholic beverage powerhouse would donate a $1 to the NFL Draft-a-Thon for every mention on social media up to $500,000 through April 25 to benefit coronavirus relief.
Thanks to your boos, a tradition remains at the #NFLDraft this year. Remember to continue to use #BooTheCommish during the Draft, and Bud Light Seltzer will give $1 to NFL Draft-a-Thon up to $500K through April 25th. pic.twitter.com/VuwFyL13WO
— Bud Light Seltzer (@budlight) April 22, 2020
There was skepticism over having the draft while executives would be unable to use their team facilities, but Goodell felt the event needed to go on as scheduled. He addressed his decision in an interview with NFL.com’s Judy Battista.
“People were looking forward to it; it went way beyond interest in football,” Goodell told Battista. “It struck a chord with people. I think, I hope, it sounds like we struck the right tone of recognizing health care workers and first responders while keeping the focus on football.”
Goodell also revealed he sat down only three times throughout the evening as he interacted with fans virtually, FaceTimed with almost every player selected and conducted the Draft-A-Thon fundraiser.
“It definitely was full steam ahead,” Goodell said. “But you always have your hesitations, your concerns. I know how important this is to the clubs. If we had come out of this where they didn’t have time to make trades or if something operationally went wrong … but we heard zero of that. People were making a big deal of that, making a big deal of, is it really the right time to do this kind of event.”
He later added that the league’s next challenge is opening up team facilities.
“My assumption is we will be opening them with some restrictions as far as the number of personnel,” Goodell said. “We’re going to seek to open them all at the same time for equity. What ultimately made the football folks comfortable at the club level with the draft was they were all working with the same rules. We are going to have to get the protocol straight. We can’t move to open until the last team can, so we may have to make some accommodations. Our job is to make sure we work through the problems and try to figure out a way to stay on schedule.”
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