NFLPA Encourages Top Draft Picks to No Show on Draft Day
Though the NFLPA wouldn't go as far as calling for a boycott of the NFL's draft this April, it did send a strong message to young draftees who will soon become members of the NFLPA when a new CBA is in place.
NFLPA executives publicly called for all top draft picks that would normally be invited to New York City to personally attend the NFL draft, to decline any invitation to the NFL's draft as a statement of unity amongst players. Even those who are not yet part of the union but will be upon a new labor deal and a signed contract.
The NFLPA has their own draft day production they'd like to put on for the players when their names are called in live coverage of the NFL draft. They want to host that separate production at what the NFLPA called "down the street" from the NFL's draft center at Radio City Music Hall in New York. No word yet on whether the NFLPA's draft day version will be televised by a competing cable channel when it happens April 28th-30th.
On the possibility of hosting their own draft party for the expected top 17 picks of the NFL draft who would have otherwise been invited to the NFL's draft experience in Radio City Music Hall, NFLPA executive, George Atallah told the media, ""It would be the same but instead of walking across the stage and shaking hands or getting a man hug from a commissioner who of course has locked you out and is insisting on a wage scale, you'd be walking across the stage and maybe get a handshake from [NFLPA executive director] DeMaurice Smith, who of course is fighting for you not to have a wage scale and not to lock you out."
What Atallah is referring to is the notion that new college draftees should not be put on public display for the NFL and it's owners, in a horse and pony show hosted by a commissioner who has locked them out of their future place of work making them unable to even be negotiated with on their first contract after the draft. In addition, the people hosting the party in their honor are the very same people who are trying to get them paid less so the owners can have more.
The NFLPA's idea to host the party is so these young men who have worked their whole pee-wee, junior, high school and college careers in football for the moment they can be selected as a top pick in the NFL draft, to be able to celebrate and embrace fellow members of the union they will be entering into once signing a contract. The NFLPA assumes have the young draft picks embrace their union executive director, DeMaurice Smith, in their shining moment when they officially become a pro football player. He is, after all, the man who is trying to keep their initial rookie contract wages high, retirement pension benefits acceptable, their safety a priority and make sure they have a fair share of the mega-dollar pie that is the NFL revenue stream for years to come.Continued on the next page