Not that a player boycott of the draft would have really changed anything, but at least now we know that our only slice of normalcy in this NFL offseason won’t be disturbed.
In the early days of the lockout there were whispers that the former players’ union would stage a draft boycott, and that the top 17 players had already been contacted. The reported plan was to hold an alternate draft event where the NFL’s newest hopeful future stars will “have the same experience down the street.” But just like those times when you really want a hot dog but you’re out of buns and have to use regular bread, that just wouldn’t have been the same.
Monday afternoon Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported the NFLPA’s finalized draft plans. As expected, they won’t included a boycott of any kind, and they won’t prevent the draftees from attending the league’s event at the Radio City Music Hall.
Give us the good news, Albert…
The NFLPA will host a reception and dinner for the prospects and their families at a Times Square hotel on Thursday at 4 p.m. The festivities are scheduled to wrap up by 7 p.m., giving the players time to make the short trip to Radio City Music Hall for the 8 p.m. start of the draft.
Scheduled events for Friday are still being determined, but it is expected that the players’ commitments that day will end in time for the 6:30 p.m. start of the second round.
A party will also be held Saturday night following the final rounds of the draft. The NFLPA has traditionally held a draft event, but this year it will be expanded to three days. The name slapped onto the three-day festival is ‘The Debut,” an unfortunate pre-LeBron moniker that has been used since 2009.
Now that we know DeMaurice Smith and the gang won’t players back from attending the draft (at least not officially), it’ll be interesting to see if anyone still chooses not to shake the hand of the enemy.
It won’t be Julio Jones, who’s eager to embrace his next boss.