Pro Football Analyst Calls the NFL Draft 'Anti-American'

NFL via AP

Football fans everywhere will be tuning in to watch this weekend’s NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. NFL fans will be watching to see who their favorite teams draft, while college football fans will be paying attention to where their beloved players will go. (The Georgia Bulldogs, to use an example I’m familiar with, could potentially set some records in this year’s draft, and we might even have the number one player drafted.)


The NFL Draft isn’t only an important way for teams to choose their players of the future, but it’s also become a major media spectacle. Last year’s draft averaged 6.08 million viewers, so sports networks like ESPN and the NFL Network have invested millions to make the show as exciting and dramatic as it can be.

Most analysts and football fans geek out on the NFL Draft, but the founder of one website dedicated to professional football has decreed that the draft goes against American values.

Outkick reports that Mike Florio, the founder of Pro Football Talk, calls the NFL Draft “anti-American” in his new book, Playmakers: How the NFL Really Works (And Doesn’t). With a title like that, it’s obvious that Florio already thinks he knows more than you do.

“Florio is a former labor lawyer who actually launched PFT back in 2001, when he was still practicing law on a full-time basis,” writes Sam Amico at Outkick. “So his career background likely plays a role in his stance here.”

What’s Florio getting at in saying that the pageantry of one of the most public series of job offers in history goes against American values? Let’s go to the book to find out.

“The draft reflects Anti-American values,” Florio writes in one of the book’s early chapters. “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.”


Florio writes as if he believes that these players don’t have any choice, like they’re forced into a contract with the NFL and can’t get out of it on penalty of death. And he doubled down on this assertion in an interview.

“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,” he told Awful Announcing. “They just have to submit. The players are brainwashed. The fans are brainwashed. We just accept that’s the way it is.”

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Is he right? Well, there are two ways to look at it.

On one hand, Amico points out that the players are choosing to play for the NFL. They may play for one team or another, but the NFL is the player’s ultimate employer. He likens being drafted to one team or another as the league choosing in which department or office an employee will work.

Over at Awful Announcing, Michael Grant sees the other side of the issue.

“In a free-market system, an individual could take the best offer from any team which would likely drive up salaries,” he writes. “That’s the way it usually works for most people entering the workforce. But not in sports.”


It’s not just the NFL. The NBA, MLB, NHL, and all sorts of other men’s and women’s sports leagues have the same type of setup. And, rather than being “anti-American,” as Florio claims, the idea that these young athletes, many of whom grow up in difficult circumstances, can use their God-given talents to make millions of dollars is about as American as it gets.

If Florio gets something this big wrong, I’d hate to read his analysis of other aspects of football.


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