With the NFL scouting group set to start next week in Indianapolis, a group of player agents are threatening to organize a boycott of key elements of the annual event if their concerns about the prospects’ COVID-19 “bubble” are not addressed, sources said. ESPN.
The NFL sent a memo last week to draft prospects and their clients outlining collection rules, including a bubble that would prevent potential clients from interacting with their personal trainers, doctors, nutritionists and agents while they are in Indianapolis. A group of agents representing more than 150 of the 324 invited prospective declined, saying it would keep its players away from joint training and interviews if the league did not rely on those plans. These players, if the boycott is implemented, will only participate in medical assessments in the pool. They were doing their joint workouts on their solo professional days instead of in Indianapolis.
As of Sunday night, clients and the NFL were discussing concerns in an effort to avoid announcing the boycott, which the clients involved had initially been planning for Monday, according to sources close to the situation.
The National Football League (NFLPA) on Sunday issued a memo to player agents to support the idea of players skipping a rally, an event they called “outdated” and which the NFL has long opposed.
Expat prospects agents provide these players, at their own expense, with coaches, nutritionists and other professionals as part of their preparation for the grueling week-long event in which they are weighed, interviewed and tested based on various skills. Agents objected to recent changes that moved some training to prime time for TV purposes and squeezed the amount of time players have to get everything done while in Indy.
In particular, agents are against the idea of a bubble that would prevent players from interacting with some key people tasked with making sure they are at their best for one week. A source close to the situation said the feeding aspect was among the most annoying, because many potential clients are trying to reach certain weights in time to collect and that effort could be upset by a last-minute decision by the league to be the best. The only provider of food for prospects at this event.
Discussions were underway Monday morning in an effort to find a compromise.
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