In case you haven't heard, the NFLPA (or whatever it is), is reportedly telling the top incoming rookies not to attend next month's draft at Radio City Music Hall. According to the ESPN 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 who ordinarily would have received an invitation to attend the draft and informed them not to go.
Later Monday, a source said the edict is a recommendation, not an explicit order not to attend the draft. The source said the union plans to give the prospects the "same experience down the street."
If the draftees do not attend, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the name of the first player selected, the player will not walk onto 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.
This seems awfully pointless, in my opinion. While seeing players hold up their jerseys and do post-pick interviews is always interesting, I sincerely doubt that not having the players there is going to affect the television ratings or pre-draft hype significantly, or at all. Having the players there is almost as big of an opportunity for the players as it is the fans.
But there's a potential silver lining from this situation from the league's perspective in the upcoming P.R. war. With the fans already distraught that football is being "taken" from them, is it really good for the NFLPA to be boycotting the one event that NFL fans are guaranteed between now and eternity? If the NFL is smart, they can turn this stunt by the former union, by spinning it into a situation where "not only are they trying to take away the game you love on Sunday's, but they're trying to take away the only event still guaranteed to you fans, the NFL draft."
I've tried my best not to take sides in this whole situations, but terrible P.R. stunts like this will certainly work to turn my favor towards that of the owners. Hopefully, for the player's sake, they can correct this situation quickly.