By Shawn Muller–
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be considered one of the top NFL prospects, and how cool it would be to get invited to Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft?
Can’t you just hear it now: “With the 3rd pick in the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select [insert your name here]?”
There it is, the culmination of all of the time and hard work you put in to becoming a top college football player, has made you one of the select few who ever get to walk to the podium on draft day, shake hands with the commissioner Roger Goodell, have your picture taken as you hold up the jersey of the team willing to take a chance on you, and answer question after question from the media for the first time as a professional athlete.
I can’t imagine how cool–even if for only a couple of minutes–that would feel.
It is a once in a lifetime experience for NFL prospects and it is a memory, I am sure, that would never get old
when thinking about it years later.
On Monday, it was being reported that the NFLPA had contacted 17 of the top prospects to tell them not to attend the annual event at Radio City Music Hall next month. Instead, the NFLPA was rumored to have been talking about alternate plans–ranging from holding a separate draft day event for the prospects, to the use of social media networks.
How unfortunate would it have been if draft day–the day that should be all about the incoming draft class–was not going happen in its normal setting?
In response to the rumors, a spokesman for the NFL, Greg Aiello said, “We plan to invite the top 15-20 top prospects and their families to New York as we normally do for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. And, as always, it is the decision of the players and their families as to whether they attend.”
Well Mr. Aiello, it appears—at least today, anyway–that the draft “dodging” has been averted.
Now–in a magical change of course–the NFLPA is backing off the threat to boycott. Due to public backlash towards to the players union and their plan, NFLPA executive director, George Atallah said the boycott is not going to happen.
Atallah said, “Lots of interesting commentary on the possible NFL Draft issue. Fans rightfully frustrated.” He went on to say, “Let me also correct the record: the NFLPA is not asking anyone to ‘boycott’ anything. NFL Draft in particular.”
Way to cover your collective rear-ends on this one NFLPA. Is anyone surprised by the sudden change in attitude by the players association?
Sure, not every top prospect decides to attend the event in New York anyway, but many of them do. It is something that all of the current players in the league– who were fortunate enough to be a top prospect coming out of college and invited to New York on draft day–got to experience, so why did the players union talk of taking this special moment away from the members of the 2011 class?
What purpose would a draft boycott have served?
Let the kids have their day.
Even though the draft appears to be on as originally planned, how weird is it going to be now?
I am not one of those people who go completely gaga over the draft, but many people do. I must admit though, that it is pretty fun to see the players and families react when their name gets called. It is also fun to hear the fans in attendance hoot and holler when their favorite team is on the clock, followed by their collective reaction once the selection is announced…at least for a second anyway.
For once during this entire soap opera, I hope that the NFLPA will put down their weapons for a one day cease fire and let NFL business be conducted as usual on that special day known as draft day.
Both sides will be better off for it…even if you can’t stand the sight of each other in the meantime.
It appears that the draft is “back on” figuratively speaking…but we will have to wait and see what happens next.
You have to think that this whole situation hasn’t “magically” disappeared, but I hope—for once during this standoff—the NFLPA and the league offices will prove us wrong.
After all…one can dream, can’t he?
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.