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NFL will soon close team facilities in response to coronavirus

The NFL shield logo is displayed on a field goal post at Heinz Field in September 2013.
The NFL shield logo is displayed on a field goal post at Heinz Field in September 2013.
(Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)

All NFL facilities will soon be closed to personnel — with some limited exceptions — in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to clubs Tuesday outlining the new rules put in place to ensure the league “continues to conduct itself in a responsible way,” and that teams “operate on a level playing field.”

In the one-page memo obtained by The Times, Goodell said the guidelines take effect at 6 p.m. local time Wednesday, and that in two weeks the league will assess the advice from medical experts and public health authorities to determine if it’s safe and appropriate for the facilities to reopen.

The facilities will be closed, except in the case of:

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  • Employees (such as athletic trainers or physicians) who are providing ongoing medical treatment to players.
  • Employees (such as the director of facilities, security personnel or independent contractors) necessary to maintain the physical security of the facility and its contents.
  • Employees (such as technology personnel) necessary to maintain the security and operational capabilities of the club’s IT network to enable remote work by club football and business staff.
A look at athletes, coaches, and others in the sports world who have tested positive of the coronavirus.

Multiple general managers and other player personnel executives recently told The Times they were concerned that different rules were being applied to different teams, depending on advisories from state and local officials. They believed that created a competitive imbalance if, say, one front office could meet at its facility before the draft while another couldn’t.

“The challenges we face are not unique — many businesses and individuals throughout the country are experiencing and addressing similar issues,” the memo reads. “Please be assured 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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