Maybe the top members of the players trade commission realized that the public backlash was garnering little support in their favor. Maybe they couldn’t find a cheap enough venue to host their draft coverage with the litigation likely to moving onward and becoming more costly by the attorney fees hour. Maybe they couldn’t find a network that was willing to broadcast their draft party and piss off the league. In any case, the commission has dropped plans to hold their own live draft telecast.
But before you start thinking that they are giving their undivided permission to the incoming rookies to attend the draft, you would be wrong.
After statements were made a couple of weeks ago that the former union wanted all rookies to stay away from the NFL Draft’s live event as a show of solidarity with the players they would soon be co-workers with, the folks repping the players have pulled back the public cry of “No!” to a more subtle, “We are not telling the incoming rookies what to do or what they should or shouldn’t do. We are simply saying do you really want to cross the stage and shake hands with the guy who is going to tell you you can’t work?”
At least one rookie has already said, while keeping his name quiet, that the union guys did in fact tell him to stay away from the draft. While two others said they would be at the draft if invited regardless of what they were asked by the players.
Instead of hosting a live draft event, the trade commission will now hold a dinner for the incoming class on Thursday afternoon, they promise to allow all the rookies who were invited to the draft to leave in time to be a part of the prime-time first round. They will hold a similar dinner again on Saturday as well.
It will still be interesting to see how many rookies attend the drafts first round if invited, if of course the lockout is still in full swing. An injunction hearing is set for April 6th and a decision on the legality of the lockout is due shortly thereafter, however the losing party is fully expected to make an emergency appeal the following day.