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Judge Rules in Favor of Clarett
Bucknuts.com ^ | 2/5/2004 | By Bucknuts.com Staff

Posted on 02/05/2004 10:11:42 AM PST by smith288

Maurice Clarett (Getty Images)
Maurice Clarett (Getty Images)
Judge Rules In Favor Of Clarett
By Bucknuts.com Staff  
Date: Feb 5, 2004

U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin has ruled that the NFL Draft rule regarding early entry violates anti-trust laws and has ordered the NFL to allow Maurice Clarett into this year's NFL draft.

The AP reports that U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin has ruled in favor of Maurice Clarett in his case against the NFL and that the NFL must allow him to enter this year's draft.

Clarett brought a suit against the NFL, asking that its rule requiring a player to have spent three seasons out of high school before becoming eligible to enter the draft be overturned. U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled in favor of Clarett, stating "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."

The 20-year-old Clarett was the subject of an ESPN.com expose on Wednesday for his ties to a known gambler, Warren, Ohio, caterer Bobby Dellumuti, who also provided Clarett with illegal extra benefits. Those benefits, reportedly totaling $3,800, as well as his lies to NCAA investigators led Ohio State and the NCAA to suspend Clarett, a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite, for the 2003 season.

He now faces a decision on whether to formally enter his name in the 2004 draft. All indications are he will do that, although he maintained several times during the legal process his desire to return to OSU this season. For him to return, OSU would need to petition the NCAA on his behalf. There are no certainties he would regain full eligibility, either.

Clarett sued the NFL last summer to challenge a league rule that a player must be out of high school three years for draft eligibility. The judge's ruling, if it is not successfully appealed, could allow teen-age football stars to take advantage of the marketing and business opportunities available to young athletes in other sports.

In trying to maintain the status quo, the NFL argued that Clarett should not be eligible because its rule resulted from a collective bargaining agreement with the players. Hence, the rule is immune from antitrust scrutiny, because Clarett cannot bring such a lawsuit and because its rule is reasonable.

"While, ordinarily, the best offense is a good defense, none of these defenses hold the line," the judge opined in a 70-page ruling.

Scheindlin sided with Clarett because he was fighting a policy that excludes all players in his position from selling their services to the only viable buyer, the NFL.

The judge said that "age is obviously a poor proxy for NFL-readiness, as is restriction based solely on height or weight."

The NFL was preparing a statement to respond to the ruling. It was unclear if and when the league would initiate appeals proceedings. It was also unclear what impact such appeals may have on Clarett's ability to enter this year's draft.

John Langel, a lawyer for Clarett, told the AP he was "obvious pleased" and praised the ruling as "incredibly well written and thorough and touching on all issues the parties addressed."

Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and led Ohio State to a national championship as a freshman in 2002.




TOPICS: Breaking News; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Ohio
KEYWORDS: buckeyes; clarett; nfl; ohiostate; osu
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1 posted on 02/05/2004 10:11:43 AM PST by smith288
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To: smith288
well so much for rules and reg's that businesses want to use
2 posted on 02/05/2004 10:13:45 AM PST by markman46
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To: smith288
Scheindlin sided with Clarett because he was fighting a policy that excludes all players in his position from selling their services to the only viable buyer, the NFL.

*cough* CFL *cough*

3 posted on 02/05/2004 10:14:46 AM PST by smith288 (If terrorist hate George W. Bush, then he has my vote!)
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To: smith288
This is going to ruin the NFL.
Just look at the NBA.
4 posted on 02/05/2004 10:16:10 AM PST by dyed_in_the_wool ("For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible" - GWB)
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To: smith288
I don't agree with the decision, but it has always seemed to me inescapable under Antitrust law, and I don't think the CFL is a viable alternative.
5 posted on 02/05/2004 10:17:56 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
The rule is somewhat goofy in that a 15 yr old scholar who graduates early from High School can enter a draft but a 20 yr old soph in college cannot. But this is still very harmful in my opinion.
6 posted on 02/05/2004 10:18:11 AM PST by smith288 (If terrorist hate George W. Bush, then he has my vote!)
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To: smith288
I just don't understand why the NFL wants this rule. Why don't they let the freedom of competition decide wether someone is able to play in the NFL.
7 posted on 02/05/2004 10:18:35 AM PST by Lost Highway (There's no stoppin the cretins from hoppin.)
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
"This is going to ruin the NFL."

What he said fifty times over!
8 posted on 02/05/2004 10:19:25 AM PST by writer33 (The U.S. Constitution defines a Conservative)
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To: smith288
Scheindlin sided with Clarett because he was fighting a policy that excludes all players in his position from selling their services to the only viable buyer, the NFL.

Could the little putz go to the Arena League?

9 posted on 02/05/2004 10:19:50 AM PST by JohnnyZ
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To: smith288
Oh, I also think Clarett is going to have a very rough time in the NFL. He's just not developed enough.
10 posted on 02/05/2004 10:19:56 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: smith288
Scheindlin sided with Clarett because he was fighting a policy that excludes all players in his position from selling their services to the only viable buyer, the NFL.

Here's what I dont get. Why are these laws used to protect a certain set of particular skills? Can't he always go and get an office job, a construction job, something else?

11 posted on 02/05/2004 10:20:43 AM PST by Paradox (Cogito ergo Doom.)
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To: smith288
Predictions: (Not wishes)

1. This will have little impact on the NCAA or NFL, as most players will still want to maximize their value in the draft by waiting until after their junior year to go pro.

2. MC will be drafted by a crappy team no higher than the second round, and will be injured before the regular 2004 NFL season starts.

12 posted on 02/05/2004 10:20:49 AM PST by PackerBoy (Just my opinion ....)
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
This is going to ruin the NFL. Just look at the NBA.

I don't think younger players ruined the NBA. What ruined the NBA was rules implemented that valued individual athletic ability over the knowledge of how to play team basketball.

13 posted on 02/05/2004 10:21:07 AM PST by Lost Highway (There's no stoppin the cretins from hoppin.)
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To: smith288
It will be interesting to see which NFL team drafts such an often-injured, multiple lie-teller & high maintainence individual as Clarett.

I don't know how many good running backs are available this year but I bet he doesn't go in the first round. Even without all of the non-football BS, Clarett has been shown to be much too brittle -- and that's just in college ball.

14 posted on 02/05/2004 10:21:14 AM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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To: Petronski
viable in what term? its a viable option in that you can make a living for doing your job. So he cant live like a king for a year...whoopy.
15 posted on 02/05/2004 10:23:02 AM PST by smith288 (If terrorist hate George W. Bush, then he has my vote!)
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
This is going to ruin the NFL.

Just look at the NBA.

Yeah -- LeBron clearly isn't ready to compete in the NBA.

Nor was Moses Malone, Spencer Haywood, Darryl Dawkins, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Shawn Kemp, etc, etc

16 posted on 02/05/2004 10:25:40 AM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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To: Petronski
In trying to maintain the status quo, the NFL argued that Clarett should not be eligible because its rule resulted from a collective bargaining agreement with the players. Hence, the rule is immune from antitrust scrutiny, because Clarett cannot bring such a lawsuit and because its rule is reasonable.

Clarett was not a party to nor were interests represented in the collective bargaining agreement. That this was the best argument the NFL could present indicates the weakness of its case. Whether this decision is best for the NFL or college footbal is not the point; Clarett's rights are.

17 posted on 02/05/2004 10:27:19 AM PST by connectthedots (Recognize that not all Calvinists will be Christians in glory.)
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To: gdani
Don't forget Carmello Anthony. If I am not mistaken he would have been inelligble under the NFL rules.
18 posted on 02/05/2004 10:29:05 AM PST by Lost Highway (There's no stoppin the cretins from hoppin.)
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To: smith288
The worst part? Once again an athlete gets rewarded for bad behavior. And we wonder why morals and standards are falling in this country.
19 posted on 02/05/2004 10:30:20 AM PST by rikkir (The Pats have the trophy, but it's got claw marks all over it !!)
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To: All
Related thread on this subject:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1072074/posts
20 posted on 02/05/2004 10:31:56 AM PST by LisaMalia (Buckeye Fan since birth!!)
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To: Lost Highway
I think the NFL likes the college football system since it provides a free minor leagues to help screen talent for them. I think this screening is more important in football than basketball, because it provides proof about a young player's ability to take a beating and to handle resposibility.

Claret's brief college experience has proven that he can neither take a beating nor handle responsibility. Despite this ruling he should stay at OSU and try to change this impression.
21 posted on 02/05/2004 10:31:58 AM PST by Gaetano
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To: Lost Highway
I just don't understand why the NFL wants this rule. Why don't they let the freedom of competition decide wether someone is able to play in the NFL.

It's sort of the apprentice/journeyman/master setup that has sadly disappeared from society. They didn't necessarily want players with the most raw talent, but seasoned and mature players who have learned to play on a team at two separate levels. This lowering of the bar to entry could be one source of all of the problems and indiscretions we've been having with athletes in recent years.

22 posted on 02/05/2004 10:33:21 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: connectthedots
Whether this decision is best for the NFL or college footbal is not the point; Clarett's rights are.

Is the entire concept of having a draft even legal? Shouldn't a player have the right to sign with whatever team he wants (provided they want him), instead of having his employer dictated to him by the league?

23 posted on 02/05/2004 10:36:44 AM PST by BlackRazor
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To: smith288
uhh, 'cuz they don't want to mess up the minor leagues, er, I mean the Div 1 colleges.
24 posted on 02/05/2004 10:37:11 AM PST by dmz
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To: writer33
It's not going to ruin the NFL since the NFL, unlike the NBA, is not saddled with guaranteed contracts of players who either haven't shown they can play or players who prime is long past. In the NFL at least the teams have the ability to cut nonperformers and not have to pay them. Player wannabes are going to have to think a lot harder about coming out early because nothing is guaranteed. In the NBA, you fool a team into drafting your unprepared butt in the 1st rd and they hand you a massive guaranteed 7yr contract so you're set for life.
25 posted on 02/05/2004 10:39:26 AM PST by Jedi Master Yoda (Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.)
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To: gdani
You're right. BBall is so much more interesting than it was when Moses entered the league.
You got guys who don't even understand how to beat a trap listed as top guys in the league.
I'm a Sixers fans and even with AI's year (or two) at Georgetown, I really don't think he's that smart about the game. Lord knows Larry Brown tried.

The game stinks.
As it is, I can barely deal with the NFL and all of the timeouts and rules that slow down the game. Getting a bunch of ignorant kids out there isn't going to make it move quicker. Guaranteed.

For every dude on your list, there's at least 3 who shouldn't have been drafted. And every one of those players would've been even better if they had gone to school first.
Heck, make college ball semi-pro like it practically is, that's cool.
But don't draft and sell kids and tell me they're professionals. They ain't.
26 posted on 02/05/2004 10:40:56 AM PST by dyed_in_the_wool ("For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible" - GWB)
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To: antiRepublicrat
One trend I have noticed (especially in the QB position) is that the NFL has been using the Arena and World league as "Class AAA" farm teams. The right amount of seasoning for a rookie with little or no pressure is achieved. Look at the progress and success of Delhomme and the Rams QB, both arena and world league products. I don't see this as an opening of the floodgates for players to come out early, as the teams are worried about another Ryan Leaf or Brain Bosworth.
27 posted on 02/05/2004 10:42:51 AM PST by cport
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To: Jedi Master Yoda
I hope the NFL doesn't draft him. Send up to Canada to grow a little manhood first.
28 posted on 02/05/2004 10:43:54 AM PST by writer33 (The U.S. Constitution defines a Conservative)
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To: gdani
Oh, he will be drafted early, you can count on that. Someone will make that mistake, and when he's beaten into the ground by players who are bigger, stronger, and faster, maybe they will learn, but probably not.
The thing is, every NFL player I've seen quoted on this issue has said that college is essential in order to gain the necessary strength and speed to compete in the NFL.
If anything, Clarett is going get hurt really bad really fast.
29 posted on 02/05/2004 10:46:18 AM PST by vikk
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To: dmz
There is a minor league, its called the EFL (Euroweenie football league) and many talented players went there and are now successful NFL stars.
30 posted on 02/05/2004 10:47:22 AM PST by smith288 (If terrorist hate George W. Bush, then he has my vote!)
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To: vikk
Someone will make that mistake, and when he's beaten into the ground by players who are bigger, stronger, and faster, maybe they will learn, but probably not.

NFL player sizes wont matter as Clarett is as big, strong and as fast as NFL players. But he is a tad flimsy on the toughness side. Smaller people will hurt him before anyone bigger will. He is that fragile.

31 posted on 02/05/2004 10:49:23 AM PST by smith288 (If terrorist hate George W. Bush, then he has my vote!)
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
It will definitely hurt college football and every other NCAA sport. The big time programs make huge amounts of money on football which essentially pay for all the other programs that otherwise couldn't exist (especially the womens' programs). It is one big can of worms that this judge just opened.
32 posted on 02/05/2004 10:51:38 AM PST by katana
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To: smith288
and what % of current rosters came directly from college as opposed the NFL Europe.

My sense is that college is way out in front, but I honestly do not know.
33 posted on 02/05/2004 10:54:08 AM PST by dmz
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To: Petronski
and I don't think the CFL is a viable alternative.

Does the CFL pay their players? If so then they are a viable alternative. If they aren't then I'm going to sue to get paid 10 times what Imake now doing the same exact thing

34 posted on 02/05/2004 10:55:32 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: PackerBoy
and will be injured before the regular 2004 NFL season starts.

Very badly, during training camp, as soon as the older, bigger guys who's place (and money) he's trying to take get a chance to hit him.

35 posted on 02/05/2004 10:57:22 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: smith288
Too bad for the NFL. It's had its troubles, but it aint seen nothing yet! My fearless prediction is that we will see many youths who are dysfunctional who will go to the NFL and two things will happen. First: they will have lots of legal problems. Second: Because of their youth, they will physically break down faster than someone who has survived four years of college. Another sport soon to go the way of the NBA.
36 posted on 02/05/2004 10:57:57 AM PST by Enterprise ("You sit down. You had your say. Now I'm going to have my say.")
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To: John O
True. If I were an older player competing with someone barely out of high school who was trying to take my position, and my PAYCHECK, I would cripple him!
37 posted on 02/05/2004 11:00:33 AM PST by Enterprise ("You sit down. You had your say. Now I'm going to have my say.")
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To: connectthedots
Whether this decision is best for the NFL or college footbal is not the point; Clarett's rights are

And how are his rights being violated by being denied a job that he's not qualified for? The rules are the rules. If they let him play then they also have to let 20 year olds be elected president. Same deal. He's not old enough (mature) yet for that game.

(Recognize that not all Calvinists will be Christians in glory.

And there's absolutely nothing they can do about it either according to Calvinist thought)

38 posted on 02/05/2004 11:00:57 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: PackerBoy
1. This will have little impact on the NCAA or NFL, as most players will still want to maximize their value in the draft by waiting until after their junior year to go pro.


I wonder if it might start to reduce the farcical "scholar athlete" model in some colleges. Then again, college basketball is filled with non-students, so who knows.
39 posted on 02/05/2004 11:01:02 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: katana
I had forgotten about that angle. College football will be degraded too!
40 posted on 02/05/2004 11:01:59 AM PST by Enterprise ("You sit down. You had your say. Now I'm going to have my say.")
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
For every dude on your list, there's at least 3 who shouldn't have been drafted.

No there's not (unless you feel like naming them).

First, there haven't been too many players drafted out of high school into the NBA. Second, they presumably still need time to develop after being drafted which many of them do on an NBA bench instead of starting for a NCAA team. Third, drafting by a pro sports team is more of an art than a science -- with many players in all sports being draft busts regardless of whether they played only high school or completed all 4 years of college.

And every one of those players would've been even better if they had gone to school first.

And done what? Risked injury & their careers? Granted, I agree with the general premise that young players should stay in school for at least some time to gain experience.

But, if they actually are qualified - like everyone on my list is/was - why the heck would you stay in college when you could be making millions in the NBA??

I know I certainly wouldn't pass up that opportunity.

41 posted on 02/05/2004 11:02:01 AM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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To: BlackRazor
Is the entire concept of having a draft even legal? Shouldn't a player have the right to sign with whatever team he wants (provided they want him), instead of having his employer dictated to him by the league?

An interesting question I've thought about on occasion. As a practical matter, since the NBA went to just two rounds and the NFL cut way back on the number of rounds they have, players drafted are very likely to make the teams they are drafted by and undrafted players are free to pick teams and situations that they view as most beneficial to them.

Professional sports also enjoy some protections from the applications of anti-trust laws, but those laws really can't be used to prevent someone from making a living if they have the ability to compete at that level.

42 posted on 02/05/2004 11:03:07 AM PST by connectthedots (Recognize that not all Calvinists will be Christians in glory.)
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To: Enterprise
I dont think the NFL will go the way of the NBA...

NBA isnt as rough and tumble as the NFL. Lots of these little kids will get beat down to a pulp in practices long before making it on a field Sunday afternoons. Some will sneak through and become great, but most will suck and ruin their lives by being scholastically stupid and injured.
43 posted on 02/05/2004 11:04:26 AM PST by smith288 (If terrorist hate George W. Bush, then he has my vote!)
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To: antiRepublicrat
They didn't necessarily want players with the most raw talent, but seasoned and mature players who have learned to play on a team at two separate levels.

This is crucially important. Football is far more a team game than basketball is.

In Bball someone like Michael Jordan can dominate the opposing team almost by himself.

In football, Brett Favre, while being the best QB in the game ever (IMHO), is just one guy versus eleven. If he didn't have good team mates he'd get creamed. You can insert Barry Sanders or Randy Moss if you choose. Story remains the same. If you can't play as a team, you lose.

44 posted on 02/05/2004 11:05:44 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: John O
And how are his rights being violated by being denied a job that he's not qualified for?

If no team wants to hire him, and there is no collusion involved, he wouldn't be qualified. In that case the NFL argument is moot. I say let the marketplace decide.

45 posted on 02/05/2004 11:07:26 AM PST by connectthedots (Recognize that not all Calvinists will be Christians in glory.)
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To: smith288
I pretty much agree with your post. The NFL will draft players who appear to be ready, but are not. And those players will probably get injured or ground down, as you suggest, when they might have been successful with a couple more years of college. The league loses a good potential player, then goes on to the next not-ready for the NFL player, his career ends early also, and the NFL, through time and attrition, grinds itself into total mediocrity, and eventually, becomes like the NBA. Someday we may hear the cry - BRING BACK THE XFL!
46 posted on 02/05/2004 11:17:53 AM PST by Enterprise ("You sit down. You had your say. Now I'm going to have my say.")
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To: gdani
Having been a Sixer fan, I would argue that Darryl Dawkins, at least, was NOT ready for the NBA. A tremendous physical talent who never really learned the game of Basketball -- as witnessed by the whipping that Magic Johnson gave him in Game 6 of the NBA finals (when Kareem did not dress due to injuries). Dawkins should have rammed it down LA's throat, but instead he went into his usual big-game disappearing act. If he'd attended college, who knows?
47 posted on 02/05/2004 11:20:07 AM PST by Tallguy (Does anybody really think that Saddam's captor really said "Pres. Bush sends his regards"?)
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To: smith288
The guy may have talent, but I wonder if it occurred to him that he could not have possibly made himself any less attractive to the NFL in every other aspect. Sheesh.

MM
48 posted on 02/05/2004 11:26:40 AM PST by MississippiMan
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To: smith288
Judicial Activism. Impeach this judge!

Businesses has a right to estabilish their own rule. In this case not to try to lure teenagers out of high school. For once the rule is changed by the court it can be changed again by a more lenient one and finnally dropped overall.

Thus it's just another liberal judge attacking our children. Impeach them!

49 posted on 02/05/2004 11:30:48 AM PST by sr4402
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To: Tallguy
I would argue that Darryl Dawkins, at least, was NOT ready for the NBA......Dawkins should have rammed it down LA's throat, but instead he went into his usual big-game disappearing act......

My response to that would be that Dawkins was obviously qualified to be in the NBA. The proof -- he was in the NBA for years & was a starter for many of those years.

Now, whether or not he choked against the Lakers & in other games is a different story. That would only indicate that he's a choker or that he wasn't a superstar -- but was still certainly qualified to be in the NBA.

50 posted on 02/05/2004 11:46:24 AM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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