Football fans may dislike Roger Goodell for any number of reasons ranging from the league’s seeming indifference to bad officiating to the NFL commissioner’s handling of the New England Patriots controversies.
But they have to give props for the man for his sense of humor. Goodell and the NFL are going out of their way to make sure an NFL draft tradition remains intact on Thursday night.
Roger Goodell is just asking to be booed. Really.
There will be no fans in the room when the 2020 NFL draft takes place Thursday through Saturday. Heck, there won’t even be a room. Because of the local restrictions on large gatherings and the social distancing being practiced as the nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic, the annual selection of top college prospects will be done via phone lines and video conferencing.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will preside over the NFL draft from his home in New York City’s northern suburbs. General managers of the 32 teams will also be working from home as they navigate their way through the seven rounds.
That deprives football fans of their version of an opening ceremony: booing Goodell when he steps to the podium to kick off the draft.
Not wanting fans to miss out, Goodell is being a good sport as league partner Bud Light is rolling out a “Boo The Commish” promotion this week. The brewer wants fans to record their boos and post them with an @budlight tag and #BooTheCommish hashtag. Bud Light says it will deliver the boos to the draft as well as donate $1 for each submission up to a maximum of $500,000 to the NFL Draft-a-Thon.
The Draft-a-Thon is the league’s COVID-19 fundraising effort. The NFL says its owners, players and teams have pledged or contributed $76 million thus far.
Why do fans boo Roger Goodell?
Being the man or woman in charge of anything big has a way of making a person the target of haters. Bill Gates saved businesses around the planet from having to make their financial systems communicate with 15 different spreadsheet programs and is backing programs to eradicate deadly diseases, but people hate him for his haircuts.
Fortune took a shot three years ago at explaining the booing that takes place wherever Goodell shows up. Their theory included the league’s poor handling of the relationship between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the botched Ray Rice punishment proceedings, and the New England Patriots issues including “Deflategate.”
However, the financial publication may have missed the obvious: The 2017 draft that prompted the article was held in Philadelphia, a city whose sports fans will boo a traffic signal when it turns red.
How to watch the 2020 NFL draft
Roger Goodell will open the annual NFL draft Thursday at 8 p.m., and selections continue Friday at 7 p.m. with Rounds 2 and 3. The final four rounds begin Saturday at noon.
Although they usually go head-to-head in their coverage, ESPN and the NFL Network are partnering this year to offer a single product. ABC, which shares a corporate owner with ESPN, plans to do its own coverage Thursday and Friday.