In a decidedly bizarre move, the NFL has prohibited a number of fairly high profile rookies, including Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez and Packers RB Brandon Jackson, from attending their teams' mini-camps -- not because they've been caught using a banned substance, or because of other legal woes, but because they've been invited to a promotional event.
Apparently in the eyes of the league, it's more important for these players to take part in Reebok's NFL Player Rookie Premier event in Los Angeles than it is for them to get a jump on learning their new systems and adjusting to life as a pro. In the case of both Jackson and Gonzalez, they'd already declined the "invitation" to attend Reebok's shindig, only to be told by league officials, "Fine, then, you don't have to go -- but you can't attend mini-camp instead. It's either be in LA, or sit at home doing nothing."
I think of no rationale to explain why the NFL would act in so peevish a manner, other than maybe to cover their own asses for being stupid enough to approve a promotional event that involves over 30 players, and not bothering to check whether it might conflict schedule-wise with the mini-camps.
The Goodell regime earned some positive PR at the draft for its handling of Brady Quinn's situation as he dropped down the board, but if this is more indicative of how the 'new' NFL is going to operate and its (lack of) judgement, the league could be in for some rough times ahead.
Posted by Erik Siegrist at 5/18/2007 6:35:00 PM