As the possibility of the NFLPA* suggesting, sort of, that incoming rookies invited to the 2011 NFL Draft choose not to attend, NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah says (as Rosenthal has pointed out) it’s not a boycott.
“[T]he NFLPA[*] is not asking anyone to ‘boycott’ anything,” Atallah wrote on his Twitter page earlier today. “NFL Draft in particular.”
Fine, but the NFLPA* also is considering an alternative event, to which the players would be invited. Absent the ability of the players to duplicate themselves, accepting the invitation from the NFLPA* would mean rejecting the offer from the NFL.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated explains that the alternative event could feature not NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith greeting the new picks but members of their next team welcoming them with open arms. King says that the NFLPA* is exploring the possibility of bringing at least one veteran player from every team to New York for the event.
Patrick Peterson’s knee-jerk explanation notwithstanding, we think that most of the players invited to the draft will give serious consideration to the offer from the NFLPA*, especially if the event “feels” like the draft itself.
“What is the first round of the draft for the NFL?” an unnamed agent with several first-round prospects told King. “It’s a TV show, a show that makes the league a lot of money. They’re going to be asking young men to shake the hand of a commissioner [Roger Goodell] who is trying to lock them out. They’re going to be asking young men to help the league put on this big TV production. And I can tell you this: There’re a few quarterbacks who could get picked high in this draft and the NFL will invite to New York. All those quarterbacks would do by attending the draft for the NFL is giving DeMarcus Ware more incentive to knock their blocks off the first time they line up across the line of scrimmage from him.”
That’s the most valid point yet. These new players eventually will be playing with — and against — current veterans. To get along, it’s important to go along, and in this case it means not going to Radio City Music Hall.