The chess game between the NFL Owners and the NFLPA (or the group formally known as the NFLPA) continued on Monday, as rookies were asked by the union to not attend the upcoming NFL Draft.
While all league activity has shut down due to the lock out of the players by the owners, the Draft is still being planned to take place in April. It is the one bright spot the NFL has right now, and the NFLPA is trying to ruin it.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the top 17 prospects have already been contacted by the NFLPA, and told not to attend the draft. The NFLPA has even thought about asking them to skip post-draft interviews, and not allowing players to conduct them on the NFL Network.
Whether or not the players sign on to the NFLPA’s attack on the NFL is yet to be seen, but there is little doubt that they were out of line to even ask.
There are few things in life that are literally a “once in a life time opportunity”, but walking across stage at the NFL draft is one of them. The drafted players have worked for many years to get to that point. The families of those players have sacrificed and supported the player. The moment is meant for the player and the family, not for the NFL.
The only people hurt by the players not showing up to the draft will be the players. The draft will get the same ratings whether or not the players attend. Over the years, fewer players have decided to attend, but the ratings keep going up.
But the players who had planned on attending the draft this year are now being put in an awkward position. They are forced to decide between their family and the group of players they are now going to play with. Imagine being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, going to the draft against the NFLPA’s wishes, and then being in the locker room with Drew Brees. Brees has been very vocal with his displeasure with the NFL Owners.
The incoming rookies are being asked to side with a group of players, who not even a week ago, were fighting to get their salaries cut. The owners wanted to put that money into a fund for veterans. The NFLPA said there was a lot wrong with the owner’s proposal- using rookie money to fund a pot of money for veteran players was not one of them.
The NFLPA has been clear that they are fighting for the players in this CBA battle.
But by asking rookies to skip the draft, they are doing the exact opposite.