The 2020 NFL Draft is slated to take place next week, despite all the odds, with league doing whatever it can to make sure that the event happens. Everybody involved will essentially be participating from their own living rooms, or basements, as they attempt to present some type of normality to the proceedings.
One thing that will be far from normal, in a positive sense, is that the three-day event will also serve as a fundraiser, dubbed a ‘Draft-A-Thon’, with the proceeds raised scheduled to be donated to select charities that are working to combat the Covid-19 pandemic that is currently ravaging the country and turning sports commentators into bloggers in their mom’s basements.
“As we face this global health crisis together, we are filled with gratitude for the extraordinary work of first responders, healthcare workers and many others who are helping those in need”, reads a statement from the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.
“The Draft-A-Thon will deliver much-needed funding to many who are suffering as well as those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic”, he goes on. “Conducting this event virtually, and taking all necessary precautions while doing so, underscores the importance of staying home and staying strong during this unprecedented moment in our history”.
It’s not immediately clear what the precise details and mechanism for the donation process will be, but it shouldn’t be too complicated. While the funds will be divided between six charities, everything will initially go to one central fund and be disbursed from there. The NFL community has already put in $43 million worth of donations themselves—though admittedly, that’s a pittance considering it’s what they might give to one franchise quarterback or edge rusher in a signing bonus.
The six charities that will benefit from the Draft-A-Thon are the American Red Cross, the CDC Foundation, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, and the United Way. In nearly all cases, specific Covid-19-related branches of these charities are cited as directly receiving the donations.
The NFL community is not without its sense of charity tied to its sporting events. In recent years, there have been a number of instances when a player on one team does something that helps another, for example, to reach the postseason, and fans of the other team choose to donate money to that player’s charity.
The charitable need at this moment is unprecedented, however, as not just the nation but the entire world battles a pandemic at levels that have never been seen before. The last time anything like this has happened, we were not nearly as mobile a species, able to so readily spread the virus.