Thursday, February 05, 2004

Antitrust: Another Bad Day for the NFL

Maurice Clarett is eligible for the NFL Draft, according to a federal judge in Manhattan, who held today that the NFL’s requirement that a player must be out of high school for three years to be draft-eligible violated the antitrust laws.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ordered the NFL to admit Clarett for the 2004 draft in April, saying in part, “The NFL has not justified Clarett's exclusion by demonstrating that the rule enhances competition. Indeed, Clarett has alleged the very type of injury -- a complete bar to entry into the market for this services -- that the antitrust laws are designed to prevent”.

It’s always a sad day when a federal judge decides what “enhances competition” in the private sector. I just heard comments on the Clarett decision on ESPN Radio where Tony Kornheiser and Andy Pollin—two men who have no concept of what this country is about—lauded the ruling as an obvious remedy for Clarett’s injustice. Kornheiser said the judge upheld Clarett’s “civil rights”—as if the men who died at Yorktown, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima gave their lives so Maurice Clarett could force the NFL to hire him against its will.

And if you think I’m out of line invoking those battles, consider how many lives and businesses have been destroyed by the antitrust laws. The “civil rights” of Americans are violated every day by those who infringe private property rights in the name of “competition” and “fairness”. These laws—and I use that term loosely here—are nothing more than an excuse for handing unchecked, arbitrary power to the government. As I’ve said before and will undoubtedly say again, if you support antitrust in any context, you are an enemy of capitalism, and ultimately the founding principles of this country. There are no exceptions.

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