The NFL Dropped The Ball By Suspending Terrelle Pryor For Five Games
Terrelle Pryor is going to suit up for an NFL team this season. Early this morning, the NFL revealed that—despite some initial reservations about it—they would allow Pryor to enter the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft later this month, so he will likely be joining an NFL roster at some point before the season starts. However, the NFL also had another announcement up their sleeves this morning—and this one was even more shocking.
While Pryor will get the chance to enter the Supplemental Draft, he will also be required to serve a five-game suspension and won’t be able to practice or play with an NFL team until Week 6 of the NFL season. Their reasoning? Pryor’s conduct in the months leading up to him trying to enter the NFL because of issues about his eligibility at Ohio State University didn’t sit well with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his cronies.
Um, what? Essentially, the NFL is doing the NCAA’s dirty work and penalizing Pryor for something that he did in college. And while Pryor himself hasn’t put up much of a fight against the ruling yet—it’s likely he’s happy just to be able to get the chance to enter the NFL this season—he probably isn’t too thrilled to see the way this whole thing played out. And, frankly, neither are we.
Pryor made a lot of mistakes while he was at Ohio State that ruined his reputation and the reputation of the school. He reportedly accepted gifts and money from boosters of the Buckeyes program and didn’t abide by the by-laws that govern the NCAA and student-athletes. He took responsibility for his actions later on, but he didn’t do it until loooong after he got caught doing his dirt. And he left the Buckeyes program in shambles. It’ll probably take them the better part of the next decade to recover fully.
But that was then and this is now. In the past, there have been dozens and dozens of NFL players who have been accused of violating NCAA rules while they were in college. Some of them have even admitted that they’ve taken cash and gifts during their college days. But the NFL has done nothing to penalize them, mostly because it’s always been understood that they would be operating outside of their jurisdiction if they did.
In the case of Terrelle Pryor, though, they’re suddenly very interested in punishing a guy who made mistakes in college. That’s not to say that Pryor should be absolved of any wrongdoing, but who died and gave the NFL the right to come down this hard on Pryor? If they didn’t want to allow him into the Supplemental Draft, fine. They should have told him that his services would not be welcome in the NFL this season. They should have turned him away and told him to come back next year and enter his name into the 2012 NFL Draft. But rather than do that, they chose to try and make an example out of Pryor by punishing him before he even plays his first NFL game.
It was the wrong decision and the NFL dropped the ball here. Moving forward, let’s just hope that the NFL sticks to policing itself and stays out of the NCAA’s business. And let’s hope the NFL player’s union stands up to the NFL and lets them know that what they just did to Pryor won’t fly in the future. Otherwise, this sets a terrible precedent for the NFL.