There were rumors over the last few months that if the labor dispute between the NFL owners and players reached full boil that the players could consider boycotting the 2011 NFL draft. Though their presence isn't necessary -- it's not a game -- some of the top players have traditionally been present for the draft to walk across the stage in New York when their name is called.
Well, the labor dispute has hit full boil and the latest, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, is that they're following through on their plan to boycott the draft. Schefter reports that the organization formerly known as the NFLPA has contacted up to 17 prospects that would ordinarily receive an invite to the draft and told them not to go.
"As of right now, this is 100 percent happening," said one source familiar with the Players Association's thinking. "This is going down."
As if that weren't enough of a kick to the league, the players are also considering appearing on a competing network -- not ESPN or NFL Network, which carries the draft -- and doing post-pick interviews there. A source also told Schefter that it's possible the league tries to pay the players to attend, which they've never done before.
Boycotting the NFL draft wouldn't necessarily mean anything but it would suggest that the divide between the two sides isn't getting any smaller.