Nashville, TN —
The NFL has reported that many of the players that were drafted over the weekend during the 2019 NFL draft in Nashville, TN, have been missing and are suspected of dodging the draft by fleeing to the Canadian Football League for refuge. Reported dodgers include Ravens first-round pick Marquise Brown, Cowboys fourth-round pick Tony Pollard, and Patriots fifth-round pick Byron Cowart. The reasons remain murky, but many believe some athletes are concerned about head injuries caused by repeated trauma, or the NFL’s unbalanced judgement extended to players and team owners.
There have been reports near the Canadian border of draftees running through the night, some with only an NFL jersey on their backs. “I did see a few people I didn’t recognize from our town,” said one resident of Windsor, Ontario. “Some folks just popped up in Canada looking to workout for any CFL team. They kept chanting ‘We’re not against the players, we’re against the franchise.’ Had folks who said they could guard, kick, return. I didn’t know much about it all but I told them to go to a bigger city.”
NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell emphasized that those who fled would be brought back to the teams who had drafted them. “It is completely unfair to these teams to lose valuable, talented players because they fled to the CFL. None of this ‘conscientious objector’ nonsense. We will ensure to hold both the players and the CFL accountable for their return to our great sport.” When asked what punishments would be incurred upon those who fled, Goodell responded by saying, “Players will receive fines, and some will play some of their games for no pay.”
The CFL meanwhile has been harsh on the NFL’s position, declaring that players should be allowed to oppose the NFL if they so choose. While it is unclear how long the players who evaded the NFL would stay in the CFL before returning, it is clear that many are not about to be forced to return anytime soon and some, quite possibly, may end up staying permanently in the CFL.
By Zach Englund, Photo Edit: Emily Sanchez