With the NFL Draft only a couple of weeks away, I can’t believe there’s not more hype surrounding this coveted event. In years past, I can remember as a fan and as a representative to pro-prospects, the excitement that filled the air and the streets of New York weeks and sometimes even months before the actual draft. I can remember a time when top prospects were making their media rounds, still campaigning to show that they are worth the million dollar investment, and can hack it in the big league.
Those days are long gone…well, at least for this draft. With the continuous news of the NFL lockout & mediation, many fans, players and prospects seem to have this "Bah! Humbug!" reaction to the whole thing. Then to make matters worse there were several reports that the NFLPA has asked top prospects to not attend. Now, I know this is an old story that was followed by claims and tweets that say that the PA did not make that request, but that damage has already been done.
As prospects, one-by-one come forward to say that they would be in attendance, many are saying that they are ‘disrespecting’ what the lockout is all about to the thousands of NFL players who are involved. But really, are they????
Many of these kids (and yes, some of them are still kids) and their parents have worked and sacrificed day in and out to have the opportunity of hearing their name called in the NFL Draft by the Commissioner. But no matter how much work has been put in, some want that to be taken away from them because of labor disputes that presently have nothing to do with them.
I read the many stories of the PA explaining that they didn’t make that request of these players, but they haven’t come out to say that invited players should attend and take in all that this opportunity has to offer. I understand that tensions are high and billions of dollars are on the line, but let’s not be selfish NFLPA, this particular issue isn’t about money issue, it’s about a right that someone has earned. I understand that worst thing is to come into a job already being frowned upon for a decision that many would call an honor, but as a rookie there are so many other things to be worry about. I dare say that those that have opted to stay at home with their families have possibly selected an option that avoids any potential problems with their future NFL teammates and opponents. For many being called in the NFL Draft is just as important as walking across that stage to receive a diploma.
In today’s world, everything is about business; everything boils down to the mighty dollar, but that’s not what this is all about. This is about the dream of a five-year-old that caught his first football saying to himself, ‘One day I’m going to make it to the pros.'