After decertifying and filing a an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL last week, the NFL Players Union has now fired another shot at the league and its owners. Reports have surfaced today that the NFLPA is putting together a plan that would prevent the top college prospects from attending next month’s draft in New York.
Sources have claimed that the NFLPA has already reached out to 17 prospects and has informed them not to attend the event. The Players Association has also been working on a potential deal to put the drafted players on another competing network to do post-pick interviews, etc.
Frankly I think this is an awful move by the Players Association. Despite what you may think of the owners and the league, the NFL Draft is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a kid. Getting your name called, walking to the podium, putting on the hat and jersey and shaking hands with the commissioner, getting your picture taken and having your family on stage to celebrate is something every football player dreams of. The union should let this year’s crop of kids have that experience, regardless of the labor situation.
This year’s draft class has nothing to do with the current labor strife, and it would be a goodwill gesture by the players towards the league to allow the draft to go on as planned. A move like this, which is essentially the union telling the college kids “Either boycott the draft or you’ll be blackballed by us” is ridiculous. Who cares if they show up for one day? If the players aren’t in the green room, people will still watch the draft. Hell, 99 percent of the players taken aren’t in attendance and people still watch. The ratings aren’t going to take a serious hit if 17 players aren’t there.
While most of me wants to side with the players in this labor dispute, the news of a mandatory draft boycott just rubs me the wrong way. It’s a horrible public relations move and makes the union look like it is bullying the younger players.