In a move that is only going to make them look like the bad guys, the (decertified) Players Association has hatched a plan that will prevent college prospects from attending the NFL Draft in New York City.
The NFLPA already has contacted 17 top prospects who ordinarily would have received an invitation to attend the draft and informed them not to go.
Later Monday, a source said the edict is a recommendation, not an explicit order not to attend the draft. The source said the union plans to give the prospects the “same experience down the street.”
If the draftees do not attend, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the name of the first player selected, the player will not walk onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall as has been the custom. And the player will not be there to do interviews with ESPN or NFL Network. The draft will go on, but not in the manner in which it has been conducted before.
“As of right now, this is 100 percent happening,” one source familiar with the NFL Players Association’s thinking said earlier Monday. “This is going down.”
What a terribly stupid idea. Even if you believe that the owners were the main culprits in the negotiations for a new CBA breaking down, there is no way to defend this move. Breaking of up the tradition of the NFL Draft has zero upside, doing nothing except stirring the pot when it’s least needed.
The big idea is to bring player interviews to another network? Big deal. I hate to break this news to the NFLPA, but no one cares about the vanilla “I want to come in and work hard” interviews moments after they are selected. The draft is about the players, not the players prepared answers.
So if you really want to “steal” the players from the NFL Draft, go ahead. Have your little party down the street and see how much that changes things.