ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the organization formerly known as the NFLPA is telling incoming rookies not to attend the 2011 NFL draft in New York next April. As you know, the NFL has a handful of the top prospects present at Radio City Music Hall that night to walk across the stage.
According to Schefter's report, they have now told at least 17 of the top players not to attend. He also reports that the players could end up arranging a deal with a competing network to air post-pick interviews, as they would normally do in New York.
I'm not sure what the players' angle is on this one but this doesn't make sense to me on a number of levels.
-Fans want to see the player their team picked walk across the stage at Radio City Music Hall. Depriving us of that would make us upset at the NFLPA/trade association/players/whatever. So much of the labor stuff has been about winning the PR battle. Why blow it on this?
-The NFL draft is like a fantasy land right now because for those three days we can focus on something that doesn't include the letters C, B and A. We want to keep as far from labor talk as possible (which is actually impossible).
-There were reports a few months ago that the NFLPA was thinking of having the incoming rookies boycott the NFL Combine. Once those reports were public, the NFLPA said they wouldn't do it because they didn't want to ruin a once in a lifetime job opportunity for the incoming rookies. I'd argue that walking across the stage on Thursday, April 28th would also be considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
-What are the players gaining here? What's the point? What leverage is gained? Maybe I'm not an expert in negotiations but I don't get it.
(H/T craig in calgary)