ESPN.com reports that the NFLPA has informed 17 top draft prospects that they should not attend next month's draft. The NFL is still planning to hold the annual draft next month, despite the ongoing lockout.
Instead of arguing over the draft, the NFLPA has decided to attempt to thwart it by having the top prospects not accept invitations to the event.
The NFL draft as we know it has included the top prospects on hand to walk to the stage when drafted and be interviewed by ESPN and NFL Network afterwards.
By asking the top prospects not to attend, the NFLPA would cost the NFL valuable press coverage in promoting the incoming class of players. Additionally, ESPN.com reports that the NFLPA is searching for alternative networks for the players to appear on, once drafted. This would further stick it to the league.
Here are the reasons why this is a lose-lose situation for both sides.
NFL players may change teams rather frequently in their careers. However, they only get drafted once.
Players like Auburn's Cam Newton and Nick Fairley have reportedly already been asked to not attend.
While it is understandable that the players would want to stand in solidarity and this would be a good way to stick it to the league, it is unfair to ask players like Newton and Fairley to give up this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The NFL Draft without the players being drafted present will be just NFL commissioner Roger Goodell standing at the podium announcing players' names.
Maybe team personnel will come up and show the drafted player's jersey, but without the players, it is almost pointless to even hold a draft, especially televised.
I guess that's the point the NFLPA is trying to make.
As the previous slide mentioned, the NFL draft without the players would be low-key television. So why would ESPN even want to broadcast that?
It could be argued that the draft without the top players is not what ESPN agreed to televise and they could back out.
Then, the NFL loses out on promotion as well as tarnishing their relationship with the company.
If ESPN is televising the NFL draft, or just the league, owners and personnel, and another station is televising players' reactions to the draft, this could create bad blood between stations and the NFL.
If there is bad blood between the two, this could affect future broadcast deals with the league.
Assuming the two sides eventually come to an agreement and are once again looking for highly-lucrative broadcast deals, they could be surprised to find that there is less demand to do business with them.
It may be a bad idea for the players to seek an alternative station than ESPN to appear on.