Former Oklahoma quarterback and 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield made it clear in February that he won’t be attending the NFL draft. The NFL apparently isn’t taking “I won’t be attending” for an answer.
Appearing on SiriusXM’s Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, Mayfield said he’s being pressured to show up. Here’s the full exchange on the issue of the draft, as distributed by SiriusXM.
Q: “Will you be there for the draft?”
Mayfield: “I will not. I will be at home in Austin, Texas, with my family and some former coaches.”
Q: “That’s up to you, right?”
Mayfield: “It is.”
Q: “Obviously they would want you there, right?”
Mayfield: “Oh yes, there’s pressure being put on that decision, for sure.”
Mayfield doesn’t specify who “they” is. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a formal invitation wasn’t extended to Mayfield due to his prior statement that he won’t be showing up.
Of course, that doesn’t keep someone/anyone connected to the draft from trying to persuade one of its biggest stars to show up. And the players have every right to not show up, especially since they don’t receive an appearance fee or anything other than travel expenses and the ability to bring certain people along, a group that now includes their high-school head coaches.
At its core, the draft is a gathering centered around reading off a list of names. It loses a lot of its luster if the players whose names are read say, “We’re not showing up.” If enough of them did, all of them would eventually get fairly compensated to be part of the ultimate reality show’s ultimate reality show.