2011 NFL Draft: What the Lockout Means for the Draft

Tim GrovesCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks with the media outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NFL Players Association has recently advised players who would normally be invited to attend the NFL Draft to refrain from going.  The NFLPA has stated that they plan to hold a separate event down the street that would give the prospects the same experience.

This revelation is just another in a long line of the growing discontent between the NFL and the Players Association.  After the NFLPA disbanded, the owners of the NFL decided to lock out the players, resulting in a possible work stoppage in the 2011 season.

While the Players Association has staged this boycott of the NFL Draft, it's clear that the players are still the ones who will be hurt by the disagreements between the two parties.

The actual players in the NFL simply cannot survive without football.  These guys make tons of money.  Guys like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have contracts worth millions.

But that's not the norm.

Lower level guys do not make nearly enough to go an entire year without a salary.  Between their lavish spending and general tough times of the economy, they need football.

And now, college prospects will be unable to attend the biggest event of the year for them.  The usual prospects are granted a trip to New York City.  They get chauffeured around like kings.  They are pressed for radio interviews, television appearances and treated like future NFL stars.

They will miss out on walking across that stage, a new jersey in hand, while thousands of their new fans are screaming out their name.  It's unfair to pull this experience away from these players who sacrificed so much throughout college. 

Maybe all of this gets settled out and the NFL season can continue on normally as planned.  Maybe the two sides come to an agreement and these players will be able to reap the benefits of being a high draft pick.

Let's hope so for the players' sake.