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NFL will proceed with draft, but cancels public events in Las Vegas

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks ahead of the

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.  Credit: AP/Steve Helber

A day after the Centers for Disease Control recommended that no more than 50 people be gathered at one time to help contain the growing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL announced that there will be no public events in Las Vegas as part of the April 23-25 draft.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Monday.

Goodell said the draft would take place as scheduled, although it remains uncertain how it would be conducted. The draft will be televised.

The NFL had expected as many as 500,000 to attend the three-day event, which was to be held in Las Vegas for the first time. The Raiders have relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas and are set to begin play there, starting with the 2020 season, in a newly constructed stadium.

Goodell suggested that there will be other NFL events held in Las Vegas in the future, possibly a Super Bowl. Those are routinely awarded to cities in which a new stadium has been constructed or substantially renovated.

Goodell also said in the statement: “While the outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the city of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

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