Mike Florio runs NFL-based website ProFootballTalk, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of the NFL Draft. Quite the opposite, actually.
As relayed by Awful Announcing, a chapter in Part I of Florio’s new book, “Playmakers: How the NFL Really Works (And Doesn’t),” makes the argument that the draft is, well, un-American. Honestly. The chapter is actually entitled, At Its Core, The Draft Is Anti-American.
Florio is a former labor lawyer who actually launched PFT back in 2001, when he was still practicing law on a full-time basis. So his career background likely plays a role in his stance here.
“The draft reflects Anti-American values,” Florio wrote. “It restrains movement and flexibility and the inherent realities of self-determination. It forces men not long removed from being boys to move to places they otherwise would never choose to live, often hundreds if not thousands of miles from the places they’d prefer to start their professional lives.”
In other words, Florio believes that NFL prospects should be able to pick where they want to “work,” just like many other American citizens.
Of course, what Florio fails to realize is that NFL players are picking their place of employment. They are picking the NFL. When a player is drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, he isn’t really working for the Cowboys. He is working for the NFL.
The NFL is assigning the player a location in which to work. Think about it. Nearly every company ask potential employees the following question: “Are you willing to relocate?”
Sometimes, the answer is no. But if you want the job badly enough, it’s yes.
At any rate, Florio stood by his point in an interview with Awful Announcing.
“It really is un-American,” he said of the NFL Draft. “There is no industry other than professional sports where someone who enters a workforce cannot pick where they are going to live, cannot pick who they’re going to work for, cannot pick who they’re going to work with. They just have to submit.
“The players are brainwashed. The fans are brainwashed. We just accept that’s the way it is. You can’t push back against it. Well, you can. They just don’t do it often enough.”
Actually, again, this doesn’t really apply. Players can in fact choose to play in a league other than the NFL. Or not play pro football. Just because someone is drafted by a team doesn’t mean he has to take the job. He can say, “I don’t want to work for the NFL.” Or maybe, “I don’t want to live in that city.”
That is the same thing as an employee who doesn’t want to relocate. The option is there. But if you want to work for a certain company, in this case the NFL, you have to be willing to move the city in which you are assigned.
And even if you agree with Florio’s stance, you can’t argue that the draft is perfectly legal.
“That’s due to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the NFL Players Association,” Awful Announcing wrote. “Both sides agreed to these conditions.”
Employers and employees agreeing to something to make their company a better place? Sorry, Mike. That’s as American as it gets.