The lockout has pressed on longer than anyone wanted, moreover anyone that’s willing to admit it and that is not an owner of an NFL franchise.
Thus far the lockout has wiped out traditional free agency as well as cancelled some teams rookie mini camps and OTA practices. Teams have been forced to come together on their own at universities, stadiums and parks around the nation to practice and stay in football shape.
Most recently the lockout’s biggest casualty to date was the cancellation of the annual rookie symposium last week. Roger Goodell implemented the symposium a few seasons ago and made it mandatory for every rookie, regardless of draft placement, to attend the “lecture”.
The symposium’s purpose was to inform the young players about the pitfalls that can await them off the field as well as teach them how to deal with their new found fame and fortune. They also get a chance to walk the NFL’s Hall of fame and reflect on what they would like to accomplish in their own careers.
However the players will get a second crack at attending a symposium like event sponsored and fully funded by the NFLPA. It’s to be held in Washington, D.C., on June 28th – 29th, and every rookie is invited. Unlike the NFL’s symposium, participation appears to be optional.
It was important for us to do this because it’s a critical time in the lives of players who are about to enter the league, Lockout issues aside, it’s important that players are prepared for this next phase in their lives and careers. — George Atallah
The “symposium” has been titled the “Business of Football” and will cover much of the same topics that the league would have. Since it’s in D.C., no trip to Canton has been planned.
Attendance could be an issue but one has to ask, what else are the rookies doing? While it’s certainly possible the lockout could be lifted Friday, when the 8th Circuit Courts is expected rule on the NFL’s appeal to stay, most expect them to rule in favor of the league.
The New Orleans Saints draft class — Cameron Jordan, Mark Ingram, Martez Wilson, Johnny Patrick, Greg Romeus and Nate Bussey — could all be in attendance. However the team has no say when it comes to making them attend, as they are forbidden to contact them because of the lockout.