February 17, 2004
not for boys
States Maurice Clarett is in for pain
Sports Editor John
Ashley Menzies is a senior news-editorial journalism
major from Aledo.
is one thing I just cant stand: Teenagers who make
more money than I do.
Its not really a greed thing or anything. Its
about the principle. Or something like that.
What brings this up is a U.S. District Court has ruled
that Maurice Clarett, though now no longer a teenager,
is eligible for the NFL draft even though he has played
only one season at Ohio State and is only two years removed
from his high school graduation.
The arguments abound on why Clarett should be allowed
into the NFL.
Baseball, basketball and hockey all draft kids directly
out of high school.
Baseball and hockey have a minor league system that can
help players at least get their feet wet before being
thrown to the wolves. A sort of Hey, dont
worry. Itll be OK, before they drop you off
Basketball doesnt have the luxury of a minor league
system. And we see what kind of watered-down cesspool
of talent it has become because of it. Yes, young phenoms
LeBron James and Carmello Anthony are having successful
rookie seasons and neither have had their 20th birthday
But think, how good would these players be if they werent
in a league watered down by kids?
This is not the same NBA that Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant
People argue that because these three professional sports
allow the kiddoes into their leagues, so should the NFL.
Thats argument enough right?
Well, no. Here is the thing. In the NBA, when a player
makes the jump from high school to the pros, there isnt
anyone out there trying to kill him.
Shaquille ONeal is not going to try and rip LeBron
James head off when he drives up the middle.
If Clarett makes the early jump, people like Ray Lewis
will try and rip his head off.
Period. End of story. I could just end the column right
LaVar Arrington, linebacker for the Washington Redskins,
told The Associated Press he felt Claretts actions
wouldnt be tolerated by current NFL players.
Because of the way hes done all these things,
some people here see it as disrespectful, Arrington
said at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Im sure guys
are going to break his tail, try to break him in.
Either hell succeed, or hell be a total
bust. If he can make it that rookie year without being
assassinated, I think hell be all right.
Football and basketball are two completely different sports.
Football is violent. Basketball is finesse. The competition
Clarett played against in college, even in the Big Ten,
is minuscule compared to players in the NFL.
The best college team would be destroyed by the worst
NFL team. Southern Cal or Louisiana State vs. the Arizona
Cardinals? The Cardinals would win by 20 points.
Twenty points might be exaggerated a little, but the point
is there. The competition level is astronomically different.
The NFL is too fast, too strong and too big. On the Cardinals
worst day, they could still beat the best college football
Basketball is just different. You look at the way the
sports are currently, both NCAA and NBA, and you see they
are both watered down and are definitely not the leagues
they were 10 years ago.
I say there is a good chance the best team in college
basketball could beat the worst team in the NBA. To say
it couldnt happen is naive. Its just the way
the game works now. The team with the best player on the
court will generally win in basketball. Could the University
of Connecticut beat the Hawks? What about Saint Josephs?
Or Duke? Or now No. 1 Stanford?
They are two different worlds. Everyone will be watching
to see how Clarett does. To see if in fact a kid can make
the jump and play with the men in the NFL. I dont
think there is a chance Clarett will make it in the NFL
because of his attitude, lack of blazing speed and durability,
and the fact that every Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and
Roy Williams in the NFL will be looking to show him he
is just a kid.