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Question of the Day: Should NFL prospects skip the draft to support the players' association?

March 15, 2011 | 10:33 am

Question_350 Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

If a top prospect is invited and wants to attend the NFL draft, he should.

Everyone understands there’s visceral anger on both sides of the labor fight, and it’s not uncommon for one side or the other to use pawns to gain leverage. But for these rookies-to-be, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s a culmination of everything they’ve done in football to this point. Denying them this moment -– or at least pressuring them to let it pass -– is childish and will have minimal impact.

Both the NFL and NFLPA agreed in the CBA to stage a 2011 draft, so honor that and move forward. Anyone watching from the outside understands what’s going on in this money grab. This is no mystery. NFL owners and players are like a married couple going through a mock divorce. Everybody knows they’re going to stay married in the end, and yet everyone is already tired of hearing each side whine about the other.

Mike Berardino, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Sure, draft day can be a memorable experience for a young football star. Who doesn’t dream of slipping on the familiar cap and No. 1 jersey of your first pro team?

Unfortunately for those in this 2011 draft class, staying home is definitely the smart play this year.

With relations quickly turning toxic between the owners and players, this is no time to buck the union’s reported request for college players to boycott the on-site draft. If that means missing out on a photo op with Roger Goodell, that’s how it goes.

In a sport as violent as football, the last thing any rookie wants to do is be seen as the equivalent of a “line crosser” during a work stoppage. Better to stay home in the family living room and let the television cameras come to you.

Don’t worry. They will.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

If you are Cam Newton, you really have no choice but to follow the “suggestion” of the decertified NFL Players Assn. and turn down the NFL’s invitation to the draft. 

After all, once you get to the NFL, you are going to need the NFLPA to help navigate your career, and you are going to need to have players, especially your teammates, on your side.  Turning down the NFLPA’s request would make you a rebel, maybe even an outlaw.

Really, though, it’s unfair to ask these young men to boycott the draft.  Being chosen high in the draft is an achievement that is worth celebrating and remembering.  Why take that away from these kids?  It’s not like having Newton sit at home instead of traveling to New York is going to help the players in negotiations.

Photo: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell introduces quarterback Matthew Stafford as the first overall pick to the Detroit Lions during the 2009 draft. Credit: Noah K. Murray / The Star-Ledger via US Presswire