NFLPA tells players to boycott 2011 NFL Draft

Imagine you’re one of the very few athletes blessed with enough talent to be considered a top NFL prospect. You’ve earned the opportunity to hear your name called by the commissioner, to walk on stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York and to snap a photo holding that #1 jersey for your new team.

You’ve earned the opportunity to enjoy that experience. But because of an ongoing labor dispute, it’s highly likely that you’ll be stripped of that opportunity now.

According to, the NFLPA is in the process of blocking prospects from attending next month’s draft in New York. So instead of a prospect standing on stage at Radio City Music Hall enjoying the moment with his family, he’ll be elsewhere because the owners and players can’t figure out how to best divvy up the fans’ money. Apparently the Players Association is considering showing the players on another competing network to do post-pick interviews, but it won’t be the same experience.

It’s easy to see where the NFLPA is coming from here. It’s in the middle of a financial battle and doesn’t want to take a brief timeout so that the draft (a production put on by the league) can go on as usual. The NFLPA is trying to prove that the league is nothing without the players, so why have this year’s prospects attend the draft so that the NFL can once again profit? (Plus, the NFL has already told prospects that it won’t pay players a fee in an attempt to have them present this year, so the league isn’t make the NFLPA’s decision any easier.)

That said, I feel bad for the prospects. They’ve worked hard to reach this point and now because of the labor dispute, they’ve been dealt a rough hand. If they skip the draft, then they’ll never get that moment back. If they go, then they’ll always be known as the players that defied the union. (How bad would they get it from veteran players if that happened?)

Either way, a sacrifice will be made on behalf of the 2011 NFL Draft class but oh, well. There’s always a price to be paid in situations like this and the top prospects from this year’s class are finding that out the hard way.

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