Roger Goodell wants players there, says draft can go on without them

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to shake hands with this year’s highly drafted rookies, hand them a jersey and a cap, and welcome them to the NFL on the stage at Radio City Music Hall. But if the players follow the NFLPA*’s suggestion and skip the proceedings, Goodell says the event can go on without them.

“We invite 15 or 20 players to attend the draft,” Goodell told Adam Schefter on SportsCenter. “It’s a special moment for them. It’s a chance for them to realize their hopes and dreams and become an NFL player. It’s a really special moment.”

Asked whether he thinks it would detract from the draft if those 15 or 20 players decided instead to attend an alternate event put on by the NFLPA*, Goodell said the event could go on without them, and that he thinks it would detract mostly from the fans’ experience.

“The draft, in the past, we didn’t have players there,” Goodell said. “It’s just part of our effort to make it a fan event and make it more appealing. I think it’s an element that people love to see, the reaction of these players when they’re selected, and I think that’s part of the excitement of this event.”

Goodell said he hasn’t heard anything from the NFLPA* about any plan to keep players away from the draft, and he said “it’s a shame” that players might be pressured not to attend.

Goodell also addressed comments from players (including Jay Feely on PFT Live) who say the owners showed a lack of urgency and a lack of respect by waiting until the last moment to present their final offer.

“To say that anyone was disrespected? We all did a lot of waiting, myself included over 17 days,” Goodell said. “That’s part of the process.”

Ultimately, the commissioner isn’t sure what’s going to happen next.

“Uncertainty is not good for anybody,” Goodell said. “And that’s what we’re in, a period of uncertainty.”

42 responses to “Roger Goodell wants players there, says draft can go on without them

  1. Goodell – You low life s-bag praying on the dimwits on sites like this!! Why don’t you man up for once in your sleazy life and admit that it would be devastating to the telecast for the college players not to attend. I’d respect you more if you cancelled the draft broadcast altogether and blamed it on the NFLPA* for sabotaging it. You’re not pulling me to your side with these hollow remarks you gutless worm!

  2. Totally petty move on the part of the (don’t call us a) union. Next thing they’ll have their guys out disabling NFL equipment and painting graffiti on their premises. That always works well.

  3. Since it was abundantly clear that Goodell and the owners were going to hose the drafted players with a rookie wage scale (a per se violation of the antitrust laws), the draftees would best be served by not appearing to side with the league.

  4. And here is what Goodell wants to say but can’t –

    I really just want to exploit Cam Newton for 2 hours. Dim-witted NFL fans will be glued to their seats watching this otherwise mind-numbing event to see Newton fidget like an 11th hour death row inmate waiting for his name to get called. That drama should pull in some ratings.

  5. I suggest the top 17 guys not show up and then I suggest they not be drafted and sign FA contracts after the draft. That way they can stick it to the League and not collect the 10 million+ signing bonuses the league forces them to take! Go UNION! It’s terrible what the owners are doing to these uneducated, self absorbed jocks who would be teaching gym class with out the NFL and the us stupid fans who pay for this nonsense.

    As a season ticket holder please lock the players out bring in the scabs and reduce my ticket prices so I can buy more seats.

  6. Wow, overreact much dude?

    It isn’t going to have an impact one way or the other.

    Switching it to 3 days was supposed to be a problem as well seeing as it is now being held during most peoples work hours and it had NO effect.

  7. Goodell ruined the draft last year with his 3 day draft and celebrity announcers of draft picks.

    Goodell has no respect for the fans or NFL tradition. He’s a rat bastard.

  8. You know, instead of worrying about the NFLPA serving their own interests over the rooks, why not send a message on our own and all fans simply boycott the draft?

    Let’s face it, if there is no CBA and it looks to be the likely case, it will be the first organized event in which fans attend, it’s a lot easier to get a few hundred fans to stay home in protest than it would to get thousands to avoid a first game.

    The message here would be a helluva lot clearer than what the NFLPA* hopes to send with the rooks not showing up.

    I do not support the players in this at all, not one bit. I think the only hiccup to this idea would be that the players would take it as a sign that we all supported them.

  9. Jakek2:

    . . . nevermind. It wouldn’t do any good.

    And the players are apparently intent on following De Smith off a cliff with this latest stunt involving the draft.

    Aside from being utterly disingenuous, Smith et al. represent the ugliest side of the game: the fact that grown men feel entitled to being professional athletes and seem to think that they’re doing everyone a favor by being paid millions of dollars to be idolized for playing a game.

    When you pose yourself as a reluctant participant in the NFL – a dream job for everyone else – you look like an A-hole.

  10. Maybe the NFL Draft should go on without the fans.

    Neither the NFL, nor the players, have a reason to worry about losing money until we threaten to SHRINK the pie, rather than let them think that they can GROW the pie while stringing the fans along.

    If there is one way the fans can help to move these labor negotiations along, it’s by not watching the draft on television. Lower TV ratings than normal would certainly open some eyes to the possibility of a prolonged lockout doing damage to the shield.

    I know it’s unrealistic to expect the world’s greatest sports fans to ignore one of the biggest events of the year. But less TVs tuned in to it could be a big statement to these greedy people.

  11. jakek2 – “Devastating to the telecast” if the players don’t attend? It’s more for the players than the fans. I don’t give a rats rear end if the player is there or not for the draft. I only care if he shows up for training camp.

  12. “It’s just part of our effort to make it a fan event and make it more appealing”

    if he cared about fans he wouldnt have put the good part of the draft on thursday night instead of saturday afternoon.

  13. “Goodell said the event could go on without them, and that he thinks it would detract mostly from the fans’ experience.”

    There he goes again.
    Acting like he gives a crap about the fans…

  14. @ jakek2, wow! Seriously? You must either real young or a recent football fan. The NFL draft survived for quite some time without inviting college hopefulls, I am sure they will get along just fine. The cameras are already in place, tickets purchased, fans with plans enroute. All the NFLPA is doing by suggesting that these guys stay away is allowing the divide between the fans and the players to grow even larger than it already has. Right now the NFLPA is making their side look greedy and stubborn, the players aren’t making things better with their comments. The owners KNOW who signs their paycheck, and are having no problem winning this PR war (as of right now)

  15. I could care less if they show up or not. I like Goodell. I think he represents the fans interest all the time. I think Dimwit Smith should be voted out by the players and get a real player with some knowledge of business (because most of them graduated) and start being logical about a CBA.
    As far as the draft. I read the paper the next day. I have better things to do for 4 hours than watch TV.

  16. @Jake, geez, what do you expect him to say…he noted it WAS FOR THE PLAYERS, and the crappy teams that get the first dozen picks.

    It really is a ‘letdown’ under the current circumstances, but hey, by April 28th it could be finished, or it could be more of the same….

  17. The draft can go on without the players and the start of the season can go on without the players.
    I’m just curious, if the judge sides with the league on the lockout issue how long do you think it will be before MEmaurice calls up Goodell and wants to resume negotiations?

    If I’m Goodell, I would tell MEmaurice to send me a propasal and if I like it I will get back to you. If I don’t like it then your players will be sitting on ice awhile longer.
    Once October comes and there still is no CBA, I am very very sure Mr. MEmaurice will be ready to agree to just about anything.
    I’m also curious, when October comes and Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees have missed 4 paychecks, will they still be flapping their mouths? Or will they be crawling and whining like lil b!atches and wanting to rejoin the team so they can get paid?

  18. This further proves how stupid and inept Demaurice Smith is.

    He is attempting to argue in court that the NFLPA has decertified and is no longer a union. And then proceeds to try to sway future NFL players to not associate with the Owners and to be part of the union activity instead. Genius.

  19. The players want the NFL to end the lockout so they can play. But if they NFL allows players to play without a CBA in place, there will be anti-trust issues and the NFL can be sued and fined. As it stands now, the players are suing to end the lock out, which will force the NFL to play and violate anti-trust laws. Once the players force the NFL to violate anti-trust laws, the players also are going to sue the NFL for these anti-trust violations.

    I think it’s stupid that they call a league a monopoly in the first place. How can you have a sports league with teams that play by different rules? As a fan, though, I will never be a player or owner… I just want to see a game. At least the college students won’t go on strike.

  20. Would someone put a sock in Feely’s mouth… The owners, according tot he press, made LOTS of proposals over the 17-days… The players made none, but did reject all of them while spending their time blaming the owners for the lack of progress…

  21. (including Jay Feely on PFT Live) who say the owners showed a lack of urgency and a lack of respect by waiting until the last moment to present their final offer.

    This whole “lack of respect” thing with players these days has gone way over the top.
    Learn to deal with life and quit crying like idolized spoiled kids that can do no wrong……oops


  22. jakek2 says:
    Mar 15, 2011 6:22 PM
    Goodell – You low life s-bag praying on the dimwits on sites like this!! Why don’t you man up for once in your sleazy life and admit that it would be devastating to the telecast for the college players not to attend.

    Are you 12 or something? College players being invited to the draft only started happening relatively recently compared to the start of the draft in 1936 ago… Heck, even are recently in the early 80’s, when the draft was first televised it was nothing but a business meeting with no fanfare and the coverage was a few guys (and Mel Kiper’s hair) at table sitting on crappy metal chairs talking about prospects.

    No glamor. No glitz. Nothing. The sum total pre-draft ‘draftnik’ information was a multi-week insert by The Sporting News and one publication by Profootball Weekly…

    Unless you could stay home from work, you didn’t even know, until the next day, who was drafted and by whom…

  23. both parties suck. but i do feel the players are being greedy as hell. i cant go to my boss and tell him i wanna see all his financial books. id get fired! coming from a season ticket holder, im contributing to all those greedy players already outragious salaries. sign a deal and let the fans enjoy the damn season. if it wasnt for us, u wouldnt have a season in the first place. fans r the key piece to this sport yet we are the only ones with no say at all and we are the only ones who suffer in the end.

  24. fatelvis77 says:
    Mar 15, 2011 6:27 PM
    Since it was abundantly clear that Goodell and the owners were going to hose the drafted players with a rookie wage scale (a per se violation of the antitrust laws), the draftees would best be served by not appearing to side with the league.

    Idiot. Collectively bargained wage scales are not violations of anti-trust laws. That was decided in Brown v. Pro Football, Inc in 1997 and also affirmed in multiple suits against the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

    I’m not lawyer and I know that…

  25. @spiderbite108 …

    You like Goodell and think he represents the fans interest all the time????

    ROFL … You must be a company shill. Or the spider that bit you had acid in its venom and you’re on one funky trip 😆

  26. @iknowfootballandyoudont …

    The start of the season can go on without the players? Either you’re talking about a televised version of Madden or you’re talking about scabs … which is no surprise given the lack of moral principle in your posts. Maybe before the start of the season, your bosses will tell you they’ve found someone less skilled who’s willing to do your job for less money. I’d find poetic justice in that.

  27. ilovethiscrap –

    You’re right. The draft did survive for eons without inviting college hopefuls. The only problem with your argument is that those past non-hopeful attended drafts were UN-televised. If the hopefuls don’t attend this draft, there is similarly no reason to broadcast it. Especially if the NFLPA broadcasts a counter-draft on another channel complete with hopefuls.

    manderson – what’s your point?

  28. randolph – Goodell (“rat fink”) is trying to sway public opinion by claiming that the absence of draftees will hurt the fans because it’s a fan experience thing. Why are you and everyone else on this entire site falling for this charlatan? If he was so interested in the fans, why didn’t he strive to get a deal done two years ago when the owners opted out??? Instead, he chose LOCK-OUT! So much for caring about the fans.

    PEOPLE…FELLOW FANS….QUIT BEING LAMBS!! Think for yourselves!

  29. This whole thing is stupid. How are you gonna tell a rookie not to go to his draft?!? You only get drafted once into the NFL and if I was a rookie, I would be there in a heartbeat.

  30. Roger, I don’t care what anyone says you are worth every penny of the dollar per year the owners are paying. In fact, they could even raise you a nickle or two and still have a bargin. If you wanted as much as two dollars per year, I would show you the door.

  31. Too many overpaid players posting on this article. This whole scenario of an nflpa* draft event enrages me with the power of ten suns. I hate the players more and more every day and everyone I talk to totally agrees – especially you drew brees! Owners – please, please shutdown the league, join the Xfl and pay the players their rates of no more than a couple hundred thousand a person, that’s all these babies deserve … Now watch all the people who like this posting and then fire demaurice the snake!

  32. @Deb

    If my bosses tell me they found someone to do my job who is less skilled and willing to take less money then I will know they are refering to you.

  33. but what about the draft room drama people!?!?

    watching these players feel so damn sorry for themselves when they don’t get picked right away. this is when the camera gets a good close up of the athlete. poor guy. he has to wait an extra hour before he signs his guaranteed multi million dollar contract. what a warrior. kings among men.

    then he FINALLY gets picked. poor kid had to wait until the late twenties to get picked??? forget nelson mendel being freed from prison. this kid just sat through the baton death march! the fortitude and valor this kid has shown is unprecedented.

    then we can watch the guy develop an irrational bitterness towards the teams that passed on him. how dare those teams question a 21 year olds devotion! he’s 21! he has proven himself enough. then he plays an entire career devoted on one short afternoon.

    i’m going to miss that. where will the drama be?

    the vikings can pick up that slack.

  34. @iknowfootballandyoudont …

    Nope. As far as I know, I’m the fourth generation of my family to be self-employed. But the gene may go back even further. I walked away from working for others (except the clients I take by choice) at the first opportunity.

    What I can’t understand is why an employee like you would be so behind the bosses. We’re not talking about small-business owners here. These are corporate types, and you have to be at least a little ruthless to get to their level. I like and respect some of the owners and believe they try to do right by their players. But that’s not the case with most of these men. And as a whole, they’ve been playing a nasty game of chicken in these negotiations for months.

    They started illegally squirreling away money for a lockout two years ago. Weeks ago, they turned down a good proposal from the players that didn’t involve opening their books. Dan Rooney said weeks ago that he didn’t like the way this was being handled. Look at what Jones said about teaching them a lesson. I’m not saying the players are angels or that unions are always right. But I don’t think some of these owners were negotiating in good faith. If the players had let it go down to the wire, they wouldn’t have had a play to make. Maybe they jumped the gun, but I can understand why.

    You were on the site before all this happened, so I know you’re not shilling for the owners. But you wouldn’t believe how many people putting up pro-owner posts have registered in the last four days. That’s not a coincidence. Just keep your mind open to the possibility that the owners are not the good guys in this.

  35. Most of the players AREN’T there, it’s usually the just the top 10 expected players invited to the green room.

    Every so often a player sits longer than expected, which leads to chatter like, “Who is that smokin hot babe with Brady Quinn?” and “Why is she with Brady Quinn?”

    It also leads to cool moments like when Joe Thomas was drafted and he was out fishing with his dad, and waved at the camera.

    Personally I couldn’t care less, I don’t watch the Draft.

  36. If I were a draftee, I’d be insulted by the idea of showing up at the draft event, getting greeted, getting my picture taken with Goodell, etc., then as the final kick in the pants — being sent away to join all the other locked out players.

    If it were me, I’d take a Joe Thomas style fishing trip with my dad, and when I learned the news that I had been drafted, say a few short but gracious comments for the fans, tell them I look forward to playing for them someday, then take no further questions.

    Then maybe I’d go line up some work selling insurance or something. I’d carry on as if none of this ever happened, and get a job.

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