Mar 16, 2020 - Sports

NFL will hold draft as scheduled but cancel public events due to coronavirus

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NFL announced Monday that it will hold its 2020 draft next month as scheduled, but will cancel the planned public events in Las Vegas due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The league said the selection process will still be televised, adding that it is exploring "innovative options" for conducting the draft in such a climate.

What they're saying:

"This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens. While this 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."
— NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

Go deeper: NFL players' union approves new labor agreement with 17-game season

Go deeper

The failure of the NFL's Rooney Rule

Data: Pro Football Reference; Photos: Getty; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

In 2003, the NFL instituted the Rooney Rule in an effort to diversify its sidelines. Technically, the rule has done what it promised — requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs — but it's hard to find positive signs of its impact today.

By the numbers: 70.1% of NFL players are non-white, but only 12.5% of regular-season games in 2019 were coached by people of color. With the same four coaches in place for 2020 (Brian Flores, Ron Rivera, Anthony Lynn, Mike Tomlin), a similar number will be expected.

Go deeperArrowJan 16, 2020 - Sports

Tua Tagovailoa will be the first left-handed NFL quarterback since 2017

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When Tua Tagovailoa hears his name called during next month's NFL draft, he will officially become the NFL's first left-handed QB since Kellen Moore retired after the 2017 season.

The irony: Tua was actually born right-handed and still does most tasks righty (writing, eating, even swinging a golf club). But when he was a toddler, his left-handed father, Galu, put the ball in Tua's left hand so he wouldn't be the lone lefty in the family and somehow it stuck.

Go deeperArrowMar 5, 2020 - Sports

New Orleans Saints' head coach Sean Payton tests positive for coronavirus

The New Orleans Saints' head coach Sean Payton. Photo: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints' head coach Sean Payton announced on Thursday that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus, ESPN reports.

Why it matters: Payton is the first known figure in the National Football League (NFL) to test positive for COVID-19. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been hit by the virus, with multiple players testing positive.

Go deeperArrowMar 19, 2020 - Sports