NFL's annual rookie symposium is lockout casualty
The first league-sanctioned event has fallen victim to the NFL lockout.
As the spring league meeting opened Tuesday in Indianapolis, the owners announced that the annual rookie symposium, due to start June 26, has been canceled.
While that may sound somewhat trivial, given the importance of other endangered events like training camp and Kickoff Weekend, the symposium stands as one of the league’s showcase events where the 254 drafted rookies, under mandatory attendance, receive lectures and advice on subjects ranging from financial management to personal conduct.
Its cancellation is yet another indicator that getting a new collective bargaining agreement in the next month is virtually out of reach, even as the league awaits a court decision on monetary damages for the owners’ ill-gotten, $4 billion of TV revenue, and a June 3 hearing on U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson’s lockout injunction. The owners have already said they will appeal U.S District Court Judge David Doty’s ruling on the players’ request for a trebled $707 million award, a decision that could come down later this week.
Ravens player representative Derrick Mason said Tuesday at a heavily attended, informal team workout that he expects the lockout to last “for several more months.” That will prove disastrous for low-level team employees around the league. The Lions and Cardinals have furloughed support staff, and the Dolphins, Packers, and Lions have scheduled cuts up to and beyond 25 percent for their assistant coaches, according to NFL Coaches Association staff director Larry Kennan.
Meanwhile, the NBA is poised to lock out its own players once its CBA runs out June 30. NBAPA head Billy Hunter reported no progress on negotiations, and that the owners’ last proposal three weeks ago was even more “repressive” than the original one they issued around the 2010 All-Star Game.
It is highly likely that by July 1, two of the nation’s four major professional sports will be operating — or not operating — under lockout conditions.