FanDuel - WFBC

March 14, 2011

NFLPA Wants Draftees To Boycott Draft: The (recently decertified, thus supposedly non-existent) NFLPA is telling potential draftees (who are not yet members) to boycott the NFL Draft.

posted by TheQatarian to football at 10:37 PM - 22 comments

I'd love to know what the hell this is supposed to accomplish.

It's not going to hurt the NFL. It would rob the players of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will make the draft less enjoyable for the fans, and it certainly won't win the NFLPA any points in the PR battle. So the point of this is...what, exactly?

posted by TheQatarian at 10:41 PM on March 14

Can the PA deny membership to a player? Can non-union players play in the league? If a player refuses to boycott the draft, can the PA then deny them membership, thus stopping them from getting a job in the NFL? I'm asking because a) I don't know and b) I'm too lazy to Google it...

posted by MeatSaber at 11:26 PM on March 14

I'd love to know what the hell this is supposed to accomplish.

Seems brilliant if it works. It takes one of the NFL's off-season jewels and turns it into a turd. All the hype and promotion of days one and two now looks wasted and ratings will drop. For me as an NFL fan, the draft was/ is the one thing keeping me from being too down about the lockout, because it feels like it hasn't happened yet while there's still football-related stuff to worry about. And any media partners who have paid to carry the draft are going to be looking for some compensation due to their lost revenue.

posted by yerfatma at 08:22 AM on March 15

Can non-union players play in the league? If a player refuses to boycott the draft, can the PA then deny them membership, thus stopping them from getting a job in the NFL? I'm asking because a) I don't know and b) I'm too lazy to Google it...

There were a few scab players (minor league players who participated in the pre-season games when MLB was locked out) who ended up making it/staying in the majors after that. I'm not sure if they were actually not allowed in the union, but they were definitely excluded from certain aspects of it (such as not having their name in video games that had MLBPA approval).

My guess is that if the union attempted to block a player from playing in the majors, they'd face a massive lawsuit from that player.

posted by grum@work at 08:45 AM on March 15

It takes one of the NFL's off-season jewels and turns it into a turd.

I don't think it would damage it that much. A little, certainly, but not enough to keep people from watching. And it wouldn't matter that much if nobody watched it this year if the sponsors had already paid.

Is whatever damage this would do to the NFL worth the PR hit the NFLPA would take? I think the answer is a resounding "NO". Aside from that, if I'm Cam Newton or Patrick Peterson or the like, I'm telling them to screw off.

As for the "scab" players in baseball, there's a good article about them here. Basically, they weren't allowed to be in the union, which mostly cost them licensing money. Personally, I think such things are rather petulant of the union; I just wish it was surprising. This NFLPA stunt falls in that same category of "petulance", IMO.

posted by TheQatarian at 09:23 AM on March 15

Since the owners locked out the players, they can't bring in replacement players. There will be no NFL football until this is resolved.

posted by apoch at 09:36 AM on March 15

There were a few scab players (minor league players who participated in the pre-season games when MLB was locked out) who ended up making it/staying in the majors after that. I'm not sure if they were actually not allowed in the union, but they were definitely excluded from certain aspects of it (such as not having their name in video games that had MLBPA approval).

As scab players they were not allowed to join the union. Off the top of my head I can think of two guys that it effected (Rick Reed the pitcher for the Mets and Twins and Brian Daubach the first basemen for the Red Sox and White Sox). They did not get the full benefits from the MLBPA like the video game item listed above, but they did get representation in the event of suspensions and such.

posted by Demophon at 10:02 AM on March 15

This NFLPA stunt falls in that same category of "petulance", IMO.

The players are locked out and not allowed at any team facility. The individuals who are about to be players are being asked to by their fellow players also not participate in activities in order to show unity with the rest of the players. I don't see why this is a stunt. Of course, the players who are about to be drafted are firmly on the side of the NFLPA because they are the ones looking out for them. And, the NFL wants to use players to make money, but since it is a lockout, those players won't see any money from the NFL.

posted by bperk at 10:31 AM on March 15

I don't see it as petulance. These incoming players have more at stake in this labor dispute than many of the current players, since the terms of the new deal could govern their entire pro careers. Asking them to share the sacrifice is a fair request. They can always turn it down.

Would it suck to miss out on some of the media attention that comes from being a top pick in New York on draft day? Sure. But if the players throw an alternate gathering the media will cover it wall to wall.

posted by rcade at 10:41 AM on March 15

Would it suck to miss out on some of the media attention that comes from being a top pick in New York on draft day?

I noticed the ad on NFL Network talked about being drafted in tones usually reserved for one's wedding or the birth of a child, "That one unforgettable day". All that was missing was a graphic saying, "HINT HINT! C'mon first rounders!"

posted by yerfatma at 11:04 AM on March 15

It would rob the players of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

So you're judging the union by the types of sacrifices it's asking its members and prospective members to make, in an effort to collectively protect and improve player compensation in the NFL. That seems like a 'missing the forest for the trees' way of looking at things. We should probably then be talking about how the NFLPA is robbing its players of health care. Oh thats right. There's $4 billion sitting on the table.

Not sure why the NFLPA is getting such a bad wrap on ESPN for doing this. Are they the network that airs the draft? I wouldn't be surprised.

And I'm curious about the decertification - my understanding is that a judge has to rule on whether it is valid, and based on that, the players will either be forced back to the table to negotiate... or instead the NFL will not be able to impose a lock-out since there is no union to lock-out against.

posted by phaedon at 11:05 AM on March 15

It's pretty simple: As a fan, are you with the owners or the players? I know anti-union sentiment runs deep among many Americans (even those who are working class), but how anyone can call what the NFLPA is trying to do a "stunt" is beyond me. What happened to solidarity?

posted by afl-aba at 11:19 AM on March 15

I'm not so sure it's that simple. Looking at a few SB Nation blogs (Daily Norseman comes to mind for me immediately), there are a lot of people who nominally side with the players who are saying the same thing I am. I just fail to understand how this is supposed to help the players in any way. It won't hurt the owners significantly, it sucks for the incoming players, and the fans will hate it, thus costing them PR points. So why do it?

posted by TheQatarian at 11:43 AM on March 15

Not sure why the NFLPA is getting such a bad wrap on ESPN for doing this. Are they the network that airs the draft? I wouldn't be surprised.

Yes. ESPN has aired it for the network's entire existence and it is one of its biggest events.

I wonder whether this move makes sense from a media coverage standpoint. ESPN can do a lot to hurt the players with slanted reporting.

As a fan, are you with the owners or the players?

The players. I'm pro-union and I don't follow sports to see owners own.

posted by rcade at 12:04 PM on March 15

ESPN can do a lot to hurt the players with slanted reporting.

Meh, there will be plenty of years after a deal is signed for the players to give terrible interviews, not do anything more than their contractual obligations, etc for ESPN. And now all it would take is for about 10 star players to complain on Twitter about ESPN and there would be a decent backlash.

It won't hurt the owners significantly, it sucks for the incoming players, and the fans will hate it

I guess it depends on how you look at things. I see it this way:

1. It does hurt the owners because it damages their relationship with media partners.
2. It's a quick pinch for incoming players that pays off for years down the road (in theory).
3. It basically affects the first round and fans will forget about it in a week.

posted by yerfatma at 12:47 PM on March 15

Guess you guys weren't joking about ESPN's editorial slant. (Patriots beat writer)

posted by yerfatma at 12:57 PM on March 15

Honestly, I've never given a crap about watching the glad-handing with the commish, the pathetic interviews with kids who have a college degree but no basic grasp of the English language, and closeup camera shots of guys with frozen smiles on their faces as they slide down the draft order. All I care about is who goes where, period.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 12:59 PM on March 15

It's pretty simple: As a fan, are you with the owners or the players?

Neither. Each has millions of reasons to get this thing settled. If they can't make it happen, screw 'em.

As for the draft, who cares if the player being picked is actually there. It probably robs the player and their family that attend with them a experience many top draft picks have enjoyed a great deal, but there are bigger tragedies.

I have followed the draft on satellite radio in prior years and have enjoyed it. About all I ever take from what the broadcast on ESPN shows each year is a bunch of (mainly) New York Giant/Jet fans falling all over each other, screaming and drooling. Maybe it's time to make the draft a traveling (different city each year) event, like the Super Bowl. Just a thought.

posted by dyams at 02:07 PM on March 15

closeup camera shots of guys with frozen smiles on their faces as they slide down the draft order

Honestly, watching those camera shots ruins the whole thing for me. Plus, in recent years, there has been far too much time given to the kid-waits-by-the-phone-and-never-gets-called story. It's probably a combination of me getting soft in my old age and ESPN focusing too much on the story instead of the team needs and how this player helps.

posted by bperk at 02:11 PM on March 15

As for the "scab" players in baseball, there's a good article about them here. Basically, they weren't allowed to be in the union, which mostly cost them licensing money. Personally, I think such things are rather petulant of the union; I just wish it was surprising.

Those "scab" players were undermining the union (other players) by participating. From the "scab" point of view, I fully support their reasoning. From the union point of view, I fully support their reasoning for excluding them from the union. Why grant them benefits for things they actively sabotaged with their actions?

If they were coal miners, oil workers, or Teamsters, those "scabs" would be facing a lot worse than simply not appearing in MLB2K.

posted by grum@work at 02:50 PM on March 15

I thought this was a no brainer. Presumably, as a current player, you are going to support the union, which has decertified as a method to potentially sue the owner's for collusion, but fully expects to be back in action when the playing starts up again; and presumably you, as a future player, will be part of the union and making millions. You support the union.

Personally, I think such things are rather petulant of the union; I just wish it was surprising.

I sorta felt the same way about baseball. Firstly - using scabs is utter bullshit in sports. They aren't viable replacements - they simply aren't good enough. It's moronic to consider it the way one would a postal strike, or transit workers' strike. So, I don't buy the traditional anti-union sentiment. These guys are not replaceable. Additionally, these NFL draftees aren't scabs. They're not looking for their "only" shot. They're shot(s) are just delayed.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:20 PM on March 15

With no collective bargaining agreement in place, is the draft even legal? Can the NFL dictate which team a drafted player must sign with? I assume with the lockout this will mean that no NFL team will be able to negotiate with potential draftees to determine signability, etc. to determine if they will draft them. And since the agents are essentially locked out as well, there will be no negotiation after they are drafted. Even if there were and a draftee were signed, he would immediately be locked out and not paid.

With all this, isn't the draft this year just a multi-hour NFL commercial?

posted by graymatters at 06:42 PM on March 15

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