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Players union backs off on encouraging top prospects to snub NFL draft

March 29, 2011 | 12:19 pm

The NFL Players Assn., realizing that encouraging top prospects to snub the league's invitation to New York for the draft would likely be a public relations disaster, has backed off the plan.

The decertified union instead will have a series of parties in New York for those rookies-to-be, who, like all current NFL players, will be locked out until there is some type of labor resolution.

When the NFLPA initially raised the possibility of "an alternative" draft event -– one staged at a location close to Radio City Music Hall, where the draft is held -– the notion was not well received by either the league or the public. The prevailing thought was that the former union, in using the prospects as pawns, was denying them of their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The NFLPA has now opted for a three-day event, beginning April 28, that it says will not conflict with the evening broadcasts of the draft.

"The entire weekend is a celebration of legacy -- of past, present and future pro football players making the journey from prospect to professional," reads a message on the NFLPA website,

"Players will have the opportunity to learn about life in the NFL from their colleagues and prospective teammates, along with valuable insight from the Professional Football Players Mothers and Fathers Associations."


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Photo: Darren McFadden poses for a photo after being selected fourth overall by the Oakland Raiders during the 2008 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images