The NFL’s first “virtual” draft appeared to conclude its first round with ease and even offered viewers a very special guest: Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, filmed a brief video address that aired during Thursday night’s pre-draft festivities.
According to ESPN, Fauci called the selection show an event that resonates worldwide and expressed his personal hope the “sports world can experience normalcy soon enough.”
Above all, Fauci thanked the league for adopting the “virtual” format and setting a strong example of how responsible social distancing should work.
"I want to commend those involved in these decisions to show that we can have something as important as that in a way that safeguards the life, the safety and the health of the American public by doing the kind of physical separations, doing things virtually, avoiding that kind of contact that puts you at risk," Fauci said in the video.
"I know it’s unusual, I know it disturbs the normal pattern but it really is for your good and the good of the country. So the best thing we can do now is hope for the best and hope that’s sooner or later -- hopefully sooner -- we can get back to some form of normality where we can all enjoy the sport that we love so much,” Fauci said.
The 2020 NFL Draft was originally slated take place in Las Vegas, but the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the league to explore nontraditional plans. The virtual format meant NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced draft picks from his basement, CNN reported.