Pryor Restraint

The NFL is practicing and playing preseason games.  That’s good!
The NFL is still acting holier-than-thou when it comes to player eligibility.  That’s bad!

The inimitable Jake Stevens

On Thursday morning, the news came down Terrelle Pryor is eligible for the supplemental draft, but won’t be able to practice with his team or play in a game until Week 6.  I’d like to know how that makes sense.

Last time I checked, he didn’t break any NFL rules, since he’s not in the league yet!  He didn’t violate the league’s substance abuse policy, he didn’t savagely use his helmet as a weapon to make a tackle, he didn’t do a celebration dance after a touchdown and he wasn’t sent to jail for bankrolling a dogfighting enterprise.

Here’s what he did do, according to a league memo:

“… Pryor made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft. 

Can Terrelle Pryor scramble past his past ?

Those actions included failing to cooperate with the NCAA and hiring an agent in violation of NCAA rules, which resulted in Ohio State declaring him ineligible to continue playing college football.”

“Pryor then applied to enter the NFL after the regular draft.  Pryor had accepted at the end of the 2010 college football season a suspension for the first five games of the 2011 season for violating NCAA rules.  Pryor will be ineligible to practice prior to or play in the first five games of the NFL regular season after he signs.”

So because Pryor didn’t follow the rules of the NCAA, the world’s most corrupt

Should the NFL be flagged for unnecessary roughness ?

and hypocritical sports entity (and that includes Don King and all the boxing federations), the NFL will sideline him the first five weeks of the season.  Does this mean I should expect to see some punishment soon for Reggie Bush, eventually for a bunch of former Miami Hurricanes and within five years for Cam Newton (I know, he’s still innocent according to the NCAA, but that will change)?  I won’t hold my breath.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Terrelle Pryor and what went on at Ohio State was disgusting.  But if a pro team wanted to hire a coach, say Jim Tressel, would the NFL ban him from the first five games of the season for his college transgressions?  I think not.

Of course, there is a precedent for this Pryor Restraint.  The league kept Maurice Clarett and Mike Williams from joining in 2004 by getting the courts to uphold an insane age-related/class year eligibility rule.  It claimed it had to do with player safety, but as we’ve been shown quite clearly the past few years, the NFL cares about safety when lawsuits are filed or when it’s a bargaining chip in labor negotiations.

The league just wanted to control the players and the draft as it saw fit.  Now it’s doing the same thing again.  And I still don’t like it.


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