The Oakland Raiders' Terrelle Pryor is now a walking example of the hypocrisy ruling the NFL, and his situation also raises questions about relationship between the NCAA and the NFL.
Pryor will be suspended for the first five weeks of the season. During this time he will not be allowed to even practice with the team. His suspension is not related to his numerous transgression from his days at a scandal ridden time at Ohio State.
They stem from his treatment of the supplemental draft. The fact that his five game suspension is identical to the one he was facing at Ohio State is coincidence. At least according to the NFL.
Alex Marvez at foxsports.com relayed information received in an email from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:
"Pryor made decisions that undermined the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft. He skipped the regular draft. He then made himself ineligible for college football.
"Our rules have never been based on the notion a college player could choose to violate NCAA rules, obtain a declaration that he is ineligible to play and then be rewarded by entering the NFL draft. He is not getting a free pass into the NFL."
The supplemental draft is meant for players that become ineligible after the April draft. Pryor had already agreed to his five game suspension before the draft. Apparently the NFL is worried that Pryor threatened the sanctity of the supplemental draft. Jump over for more....
Instead of facing the scrutiny of simply ruling him ineligible, Roger Goodell decided to go for a show of strength by issuing a suspension. Goodell continues to issue conduct suspensions on a case-by-case basis. That in itself is a setup for prejudice. Goodell presides over these rulings like he is the Godfather of the NFL. If he feels players aren't giving him a proper show of respect he dishes out punishment.
In this case, the punishment serves no one but Goodell. The lack of practice time stunts the development of young talent in Pryor, and it gives him five weeks of idle time that opens the window for a player to fall into "bad habits." It did not hinder his draft stock. It did not limit his paycheck. And it in no way sends a message to any player that they should treat the rules of the supplemental draft more seriously. In other words, the suspension does nothing to support the claims of the reason for the suspension.
But what is most disturbing about this whole situation is that a player like Pryor is punished for his entanglement in a clouded world of NCAA rules. Pryor is being punished for his indecision as a result of his participation in widespread practices in the NCAA.
That leaves players in a catch-22. They are punished if they stay in the NCAA or they jump to the pros. Coaches, however, are given a free pass.
They can participate in NCAA violations, yet they can switch schools or jump to the NFL without punishment while the kids involved are left to bare the brunt of the consequences. Coaches are the ones that should be held to a higher standard. They are the ones that should be looked to as the moral compass.
Jim Tressel can take a job somewhere and face no further repercussions for his involvement. And almost every player at OSU, still there or departed, face punishment. Pete Carroll can decide to escape to the NFL when investigations close in on him at USC, and receive a pay raise and skirt on any punishment for his wrongdoings, while USC is left with the bill and Reggie Bush has to give back his Heisman Trophy.
The whole situation defies common sense logic. It is morally reprehensible, and it is beyond time for change.