Eagles

NFL Draft will go on, but fans no longer invited thanks to coronavirus

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NFL Draft will go on, but fans no longer invited thanks to coronavirus

A day after the CDC recommended for all gatherings of over 50 people to be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks, the NFL has acted. While the 2020 NFL Draft will still be held from April 23-25, the entire event in Las Vegas has been canceled. 

This was really a no-brainer. 

The 2020 NFL Draft, which was scheduled to take place on the Las Vegas Strip with a stage over the waters of the Bellagio fountains won’t be happening anymore for obvious reasons. Last year, the draft drew an estimated 600,000 people to Nashville, according to the NFL. The NFL was expected to top that number this year. 

Instead, the NFL says it is “exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted,” and the draft will still be on TV. 

The Eagles currently hold 10 draft picks this year after they were awarded three compensatory picks. 

As recently as March 9, the NFL released a statement saying, “Our plans remain in place.” That kind of tells you how quickly things are changing when it comes to the spread of COVID-19. 

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

As a reminder, here are some key NFL dates this offseason: 

March 16: Legal tampering period begins 

March 18: Start of new league year and free agency

March 29-April 1: Annual league meeting in Palm Beach, Florida (canceled)  

April 20: Eagles offseason workout program can begin 

April 23-25: 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas 

May 1: Teams may begin rookie minicamps 

After that, OTAs begin in May, leading into the mandatory minicamp in June. Training camps won’t begin until later in the summer. While there hasn’t yet been an announcement of full spring or summer schedules for teams, the Eagles began OTAs last year on May 21 and reported to training camp on July 25. 

While the draft has become a massive event in recent seasons, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, until 1994 the event was held at a hotel. After the draft was held at Radio City Music Hall from 2006-2014, the NFL began moving the draft around in 2015. It spent two years in Chicago, one in Philly, one in Dallas, last year in Nashville and this year was scheduled to be in Las Vegas. 

The first NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1936. 

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Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

He said he would never do it.

"We'll never change the name of the team," Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013. "It's that simple. Never. You can use caps."

Now, amid an increased national focus on racism and social justice and mounting pressure from million-dollar sponsors, his tune has suddenly changed.

The Redskins' owner said in a statement Friday that the franchise will review the team's name, seen by many as racist and offensive to Native Americans and others.

Protests against the Redskins' name and logo have been ongoing for decades, but when companies like FedEx and Nike join those protests, things can change very quickly.

Considering the growing pressure now on the franchise, it would be surprising at this point if the franchise elects not to change its name.

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the statement read. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has consistently supported Snyder's decision to keep the team name, released a statement saying only, "In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step."

FedEx, which paid $205 million for the naming rights for the Redskins' stadium in 1998, asked the Redskins earlier Friday to change the team name. And Nike, the NFL's official uniform supplier, on Thursday removed all Redskins gear from its website while continuing to allow customers to order merchandise from all 31 other teams.

In the statement released by the team, Snyder said: "This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field."

First-year Redskins head coach Ron Rivera, a former Eagles assistant coach and one of three Latin American head coaches in NFL history, indicated in the statement that he favors a name change.

"This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military."

The team's current name dates back 87 years.

The NFL Boston Braves franchise was founded in 1932 and one year later moved to Fenway Park, which it shared with the baseball franchise of the same name. To avoid confusion, owner George Preston Marshall changed the name to Redskins. The franchise moved to Washington in 1937 and kept the name.

Marshall, who owned the franchise until his death in 1969, refused to allow black players on the roster until 1962, which made the team the last in the NFL to integrate. 

Not until U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy threatened to rescind the team's lease at city-owned RFK Stadium did Marshall finally allow the team's roster to be integrated.

Last month, team officials removed Marshall's name from the Redskins Ring of Honor at FedEx Field, and a statue of Marshall was removed from RFK Stadium by city officials after it was vandalized.

Protests against sports teams and logos perpetuating stereotypes of Native Americans and their culture have grown more widespread in recent years but have been held for decades.

In 1991 — nearly 30 years ago — there were organized protests against the Atlanta Braves and Redskins over their team names and logos, according to an Associated Press story. The story quoted Clyde Bellecourt, director of a group called the American Indian Movement, which organized protests outside Braves and Redskins games.

"It's a racist term," Bellecourt told the AP in October of 1991. "We're not thin-skinned, this just makes a mockery of uses a people and of our culture."

And now, it looks like the franchise is finally going to do something about it.

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