Let me preface this by saying that Maurice Clarett and anyone else over the age of 18 should, by all legal rights, be allowed to enter the NFL draft. There is no legal reason why the NFL should be able to keep them out as far as I can tell. You can argue that these guys aren’t ready, but since when do they not have the right to try? Teams don’t have to draft them and they have the right to fail if that is the way it is going to turn out. I am not physically ready for the NFL, but I should be allowed to declare myself eligible anyway. If I don’t get drafted, then it all works out.
That being said, a lot of people don’t understand what happened with the Supreme Court today. Clarett’s agent submitted to the highest court to see about getting the lower court’s decision overturned. They didn’t submit to the court to review the legality of Clarett entering the NFL. The justices might actually think that Clarett et al should be allowed to compete for jobs in the NFL, but that wasn’t the question they were answering today. They were really making a statement that it was out of line for them not to let the lower courts take the case through its proper legal path.
The lower court made their decision and so did the Supreme court based on the fact that the NFL has said they will hold a supplemental draft if they end up losing the case. This is why the courts are not forcing the NFL to let the players in the draft today. I agree that a supplemental draft is not totally equal to a regular draft day for the players based on salaries and timing of getting into the NFL, but the case has to go through its proper appeals process.
The bottom line is that the NFL hasn’t won their case, and Clarett hasn’t lost the case. It is still in progress and the Supreme Court decided to let the lower courts fulfill their purpose rather than setting the precedent that they will just come in and overrule a case while it is in the various stages of the legal process. There is a proper way for cases to get to the Supreme Court and just because the timing of the case doesn’t work out in favor of Clarett doesn’t mean that they should overrule the lower court.
Eventually, I do think justice will prevail and whether these kids are ready to play in the NFL or not, they will be given an opportunity to either win a job or fail on their own physical and mental merits rather than their ages. It will only take one or two of these players’ failures to prove that college is the way to go, but the bottom line is that the NFL can’t use age discrimination as a way of keeping them out.
By the way, I am officially making myself eligible for the NFL draft. If any teams would like to take me, I will gladly sign for the league minimum. At this time I would also like to make myself eligible for the NBA draft as well. I can’t skate so I am skipping the NHL draft. Major League Baseball, I would like to let you know I have at least a 37 MPH fastball and a 27 MPH changeup. I await your email.