After quite a few weeks of bickering and trying to avoid the inevitable, a few days ago, upon the expiration of the oft-extended Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL has locked its players out, prompting the NFLPA to decertify in order to allow its members to initiate individual lawsuits against the league. The NFLPA may have decertified thus giving up its status, but as a trade association, it can still pack a punch in the ongoing dispute with the league. The latest rumor has it that the NFLPA is preparing to boycott the April 28-30 draft, by preventing the top prospects from entering the draft. Although nothing official has been heard from the NFLPA regarding the matter, what is certain is that the union met and held conferences with several of the top prospects and that it enjoys full support on that front. With all that in mind, a full boycott of the draft would also be possible – provided there’s consensus amongst the prospects on the matter.
According to the NFL’s Greg Aiello, it is up to the prospects to decide whether they want to show up in New York for the draft or not. Aiello also said that the league planned to invite 15-20 of the best prospects for the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, making it clear that the league would prefer the prospects to show up. If the lockout will still be in place during the draft, a picket by veteran players at the Radio City Music Hall may also be in the books. Under the lockout, the draft will still be held as scheduled, but teams won’t be allowed to trade players. Draft picks can be traded, however, no players (not even those freshly drafted) can be signed. What this quite unprecedented situation may also bring about is that the first player drafted may indeed be the best one barring a pre-draft agreement, which – at least from the fans’ perspective – would be even better than poker prop pay