This whole situation is getting messy. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFLPA has contacted several top draft prospects in an attempt to get them to boycott the NFL draft in April. Players typically walked out when their names are called, shake hands with the commish and do interviews, etc. Here’s some of the report:
The NFL Players Association is putting into place a plan that would prevent each top college prospect from attending next month’s draft in New York, according to multiple league sources. The NFLPA already has contacted 17 top prospects that ordinarily would have received an invitation to attend the draft and informed them not to go.
Thus, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the name of the first player selected, the player will not walk on to 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,” said one source familiar with the Players Association’s thinking. “This is going down.”
The NFL Draft will still take place as the college prospects are not yet members of the league, therefore they are not members of the now decertified NFLPA. But this is definitely a shrewd move on the part of the players as many fans (myself included) follow the draft process to feed our football fix. If they are successful in getting prospects to boycott, how will the fans at radio City Music Hall react? Would Goodell even still walk out to that podium in front of those in attendance? I damn sure wouldn’t.
I don’t know much about the differences that are causing negotiations to drag between the owners and the players, but what I do know is that the fans love the game. A lengthy lockout would hurt support from the fans in the short & long term. Both sides need to find a way to agree on terms somehow as soon as possible.