Wearing sackcloth and chanting Psalms, thousands of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students gathered in Jerusalem Saturday night to protest the upcoming NFL draft, in an apparent mix up with the also-upcoming Israel Defense Forces draft.
Police official Mordechai Shushan said over 10,000 people attended the mass prayer rally at Hashabbat Square in the capital. He said a brief scuffle between police and protesters resulted in nine arrests and three injured police officers.
“They had pads and helmets on for some reason, so they were pretty hard to tackle,” he said.
Protester Haim Bigtan, a student at the nearby Mirror Yeshiva, told The Times of Israel the Haredi public would never let “the evil decree” of the National Football League pass.
“They tell us we can continue to be observant, but what about playoff games on Shabbos? What about touching pigskin? And having to block for somebody like Blaine Gabbert is akin to suicide, which the Torah forbids. We won’t let them take us, not even in the first round, not even for a Torah scholar to be named later,” he said.
“Not to mention the Purim story teaches us never to kneel down, not even if we are up by two touchdowns with a minute to go. How would that go over?”
NFL deputy vice president of media affairs Esther Magila said she knew of no yeshiva students currently being considered as high draft picks when NFL teams meet in early May to pick new players.
“The one yeshiva kid invited to the NFL combine, Motti Sasson, pulled out at the last minute once he found out the jerseys were made of something called shatneez,” she said.
She added that she could not confirm or deny the rumor that NFL scouts had been spotted in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak recently.
But protesters said the beefy men with whistles and clipboards seen peering into study halls were not simply “interested in the Jew thing” as they claimed, and hard been overheard talking about “linebochurs.”
“I heard there was a guy from the Schvartzes and a guy from the Mushrooms hanging out at the Belz yeshiva,” protester Dov Hayman said, in apparent reference to the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots.
A source with the Browns who declined to give his name said it was plausible that the team would be scouting in Jerusalem.
“I’m not saying we sent a guy,” he said, “but given our quarterback situation, we’d be idiots not to put a kid who can land a flaming diaper on a cop car from 40 yards away on our draft board.”
Speaking on a loudspeaker, Rabbi Manny Manischewitz told the crowd that they should do everything to avoid having to join an NFL team.
“We’d rather go to jail than have anything to do with goyish football,” he yelled.
After the rally, thousands of yeshiva students were spotted heading to the nearest corner store to watch a Eurocup soccer match.
This fake story brought to you in honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim.