Everyone is aware nothing is normal, but it seems the NFL draft is going to try its best.
One of the highlights of the draft each year is after prospects hear their name called and they come on stage to greet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. There are handshakes, awkward bro hugs, and sometimes 300-pound linemen almost taking out the commissioner with an unrehearsed flying shoulder bump. It’s all fun.
This year, nobody is dapping up Goodell. He’ll be in a hub reading picks, while prospects and their families are at home. The NFL has made many changes to its normal draft routine due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But the broadcast of the draft will go on, and video game giant EA Sports is going to give prospects a chance to virtually bro hug Goodell.
EA Sports to create virtual draft moments
EA Sports said, through NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, that it will create a virtual meeting on stage with Goodell for each prospect as they’re drafted. Rapoport added that players are being asked to tell EA Sports how they want to interact with Goodell on stage. Bro hugs, bear hugs, the Christian Wilkins shoulder bump, special handshake ... it seems anything could be possible.
Rapoport also said EA Sports will allow each prospect to choose a high school to receive a $2,500 grant toward their football program.
(UPDATE: On Saturday morning, EA Sports said in a statement there are no plans to produce virtual draft moments: “While we continue to work closely with the NFL on how we could support this year’s NFL Draft, the plans that have been rumored in recent reports are untrue. We don’t typically respond to rumors, but we don’t want fans to be misled.”)
Virtually greeting Goodell is not the same, but it’s still a nice gesture. Presumably the EA moments will be broadcast, and that should be entertaining for the fans too.
Everyone has sacrificed something during the coronavirus outbreak, but it’s also a bummer for the players who had dreamed of hearing their name called on draft night, walking across the stage and meeting Goodell. That’s a big moment for any football player. This year’s class won’t get that.
But at least they’ll have a virtual moment to commemorate the event.
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