Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Weekly Stephen A. and Skip Bayless Are…. Let’s get right to it.
This week’s discussion is about whether or not South Carolina’s star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should sit out his junior year in order to protect himself from injury, and thus guarantee being healthy for next year’s NFL draft.
There’s only one quote I want to touch on before I get into this. Take it away Stephen A.:
People like Steve Spurrier really get on my nerves, they really do. Let me read the quote that came out of this man’s mouth yesterday. Let me read this here. “I hope he plays this year, and I certainly believe he should play. Now if money was his only goal in life, then he might not get into a car before next year’s draft so he wouldn’t be in a car wreck and get injured.”
Alright. Just want to say that, in terms of straight logic and probability, this is a sound argument from Spurrier. If Clowney is hesitant to play next year for fear of injury, well, the statistics show that he really should not get into a car before next year’s draft either. And, statisically speaking, there are lot of things Clowney should avoid rather than a football field in terms of debilitating injury. Lightning storms, for instance.
Stephen A. then goes on to conveniently name-drop that of Clowney’s teammate Marcus Lattimore. Yes, that Marcus Lattimore. Even with Lattimore in mind, keep in mind the logical fallacy of appeal to probability Stephen A.
This is a never-ending debate. In a free-enterprise, capitalistic society, is it constitutional for the NFL (and the NBA, for that matter) to have age requirements to be eligible to be drafted? Aren’t the NFL (and NBA) an aggregation of privately-owned organizations (Packers notwithstanding) with labor unions who legally negotiate and agree upon contracts?
I understand age requirements. From a labor union perspective, they are protecting their current members (which makes the NBA’s players association’s resistance against a two-year waiting period after graduating high school even more dumbfounding). From a management perspective, they help avoid issues of dealing with not-fully-developed bodies (and minds) in physically and emotionally taxing environments. (I’m not getting into any NCAA – NFL/NBA revenue sharing conspiracy theories. If that’s your jam, go here.)
My opinion on this has evolved over the past few years. At first I was absolutely for an age requirement (at least in the NBA). I thought the influx of high schoolers had weakened the game, as management bent and changed rules to accomodate them. Now I’m not so sure. If this is AMURICA, shouldn’t we let anyone that thinks they can compete the chance to do so whenever they feel ready? If some high school senior thinks he can play in the NFL, let him try out and deal with the consequences himself. Should the NFL have any obilgation toward the protection of those that simply think they can make it?
I feel this debate has similar points as the women on the front line debate in the military. Make a strict, non-negotiable physical requirement to fight on the front line. If you can’t pass, you can’t fight. End of story. The problem I had seen with this in the past with the NBA (because the NBA has had to deal with this way more than the NFL) is that management placated the high schoolers. Changing rules to make it easier to defend (especially on the perimeter). Giving enormous contracts to unproven or undeserving talent. (Do I really need to remind anyone?) And that’s just for the NBA. I think the NFL would have a much easier time handling this because of how physically demanding the sport is. Let those high schoolers or underclassmen try out and declare for the draft. Let them take their future into their own hands. The NFL has no obligation to anyone when all they are doing is trying out.
And besides, it’s not like the NFL has any potential lawsuits to worry about.