Leland Stein III

How can Goodell suspend Pryor?

In sports column on September 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

How can Goodell suspend Pryor?

 By Leland Stein III

Although the Oakland Raiders selected Pryor in the third round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft on August 22, 2011. And three days later, Pryor and the Raiders agreed to a 4-year contract. Pryor will still be required to serve a 5-game suspension at the beginning of the 2011 NFL season, but will still be able to work out at the club facilities and attend all team meetings.

 I’m glad he got draft, but I’m still confused as to how the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell can suspend Pryor.

 I guess Goodell has (un)officially acknowledged that the NCAA is their minor league. The difference is the NHL, NBA and MLB has tossed the amateur façade out the window, but NCAA football is clinging to it like a man hanging out a fifty story building.

 And why not? They get a ready-made, chiseled athlete with name recognition for free. All they have to do is stay in bed with the NCAA and not let any players turn professional until they have been three years out of high school. Wow!! What a racket!!

 I’m no Ohio State or Terrelle Pryor slappy, but right is right and wrong is wrong. I love college and NFL football, but I just do not agree with the kids always taking the fall for an unjust system.

 I just do not understand how . . . nor is it clear legally how Goodell has the ability to suspend quarterback Pryor for five games based on trumped up, so-called “decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft.”

 I’m confused, what NFL rules did he break to be suspended? None!! Pryor did not do anything wrong by society’s standards. He was offered money for merchandise he owned – be mindful that he did not steal anything. He capitalized on his fame, is that really so bad? It seems like the America way too me.

 Surely the NCAA and Ohio State have capitalized on Pryor, as evident by selling his jersey, selling VIP luxury suites, letting him play in the mega-BCS Sugar Bowl, packing in 100’s of thousands in their stadium, putting his “unofficial” likeness in video games, selling, taking booster money, TV money, radio money, merchandise money, cable money . . . just like the NFL. However, the NFL with the same constraints pays its players millions?

 The NCAA and college programs implement creative financial bookkeeping, hiding money in different funds.

 If the colleges make very little money off football then how can they pay coaches 5 or 7 million to mentor amateurs?

 It takes me aback how so many kick the kids to the curb and not see the real picture that is taking place. The schools, administration, talking heads everywhere (ESPN, ABC, NBA, ESPNU, etc. al.) are making millions off these young men. This is America and capitalism – one should benefit from their gifts. Could you imagine Bill Gates not getting paid for what he does? It is crazy that so many dismiss the young people that make the media what it is.

 So here we are, another young man is character assassinated because he got a free car in college. Where else in this country would a person be labeled a cheater and bad person for driving a car? What if a student who was at OSU on an academic scholarship got a free car in exchange for an autograph, would he get suspended from the Lab in his physics class?

 For selling items he owned and driving in a car, people want to destroy this young man’s life and opportunity to earn a living. The NFL did make him eligible for the 2011 NFL supplemental draft, but he has to sit out the first five games of the regular season if and when he signs a contract.

 The NFL is walking on a slippery slope by upholding a college suspension for a player who will be coming to their league. This is a dangerous precedent, especially if the league doesn’t keep doing it for future players who are implicated in college scandals. Do they go back and suspend everyone who played for Miami or North Carolina or USC. Then what about Pete Carroll who left USC amid scandal and took a multi-million dollar deal to be head coach at Seattle? Should he be suspended too?

 The idea that Pryor “undermined” the process of the supplemental draft is ludicrous. He did nothing wrong, he was eligible for the draft but decided that he wanted to stay in college. His head coach got fired and he had another opportunity to get in the NFL via this draft, and he took it.

 The tie between NCAA and NFL is un-American. I don’t see why the NFL cares what the NCAA does or says. How can the NFL enforce a NCAA ruling on a player that wasn’t in their employment?

 Well, on second thought, the reason is obvious.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII


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