Suspended Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett sued the NFL on Tuesday, asking a judge to throw out a league rule preventing players from entering the draft until they have been out of high school three years.The first word of this report requires emphasis--"suspended". The only reason Maurice Clarett is going to court now is because he intentionally violated NCAA rules and got himself thrown off the Ohio State team. Yes, the NCAA promotes the immoral, anti-capitalist philosophy of "amateurism", and many of the association's rules are ill-conceived. But Clarett knew what he was getting into when he signed up. It was his choices that got him in trouble, and now he's seeking to deflect that blame onto the NFL, an innocent third party.
Clarett, who rushed for 1,237 yards and led Ohio State to a national championship last year as a freshman, is not eligible for the draft until 2005 under current rules.
The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, claims the NFL rule violates antitrust law because it is separate from the NFL's current collective bargaining agreement with its players' union.
"The rule is a restraint of amateur athletes who were strangers to the collective bargaining process," the suit says.
Many, if not most, sports media commentators will talk about Clarett's "right" to seek employment; few, if any, will speak of the NFL's right to decide its own rules in pursuit of the league's self-interest.