HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, PA - AUGUST 20: Terrelle Pryor throws during his pro day at a practice facility on August 20, 2011 in Hempfield Township, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Raiders rookie QB Terrelle Pryor appealed his five-game suspension today, and since the same League that handed down his punishment presided over the 80-minute hearing, what do you think the odds are it will be reduced? Yeah, I think it's zero as well.
And the thing that kills me about this whole story is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell denying that he was trying to carry over the five-game suspension the NCAA handed down on Pryor before he decided to turn pro:
Goodell has said he never consulted with the NCAA over Pryor's punishment.
Of course he didn't consult with the NCAA about Pryor's punishment. Their stance on it was already out in the open for everyone to see: Five games, which is the exact same sentence Goodell decided upon. Goodell thinks you're stupid enough to buy that he didn't blindly follow the NCAA's lead. It's become a pattern with the commissioner, who routinely tries (and fails) to get the general public to buy his obvious BS.
The easy way to defend Goodell for suspending Pryor is to say that the NFL is a private entity, and as such it has the right to suspend Pryor (and his former coach Jim Tressel, for that matter, who got a six-game sentence from the Colts, with the Ginger Hammer playing all macho and saying he would have done it himself if Bill Polian hadn't) if it felt he had done something to "tarnish the shield," as Goodell is fond of saying.
But that argument has a major hole. The NFL may be a private entity in theory, but its stadiums are built using public funds and it's been fortunate enough to evade most rightful antitrust claims against it for the duration of its existence.
And the NFL doesn't really care about Pryor damaging the league's image. Would you stop watching football if you knew they didn't suspend Pryor, who was punished for little more than getting some money and selling some trinkets? No. Of course you wouldn't. Only an idiot would be that righteous.
In fact, Pryor got suspended while other current pros like Kenny Britt were allowed to play despite multiple offseason arrests, something that is a much more legitimate threat to the image of the sport.
Pryor was suspended not because of anything he did, but because Goodell was eager to placate the NCAA, which operates as the NFL's free farm system. That's the beginning and end of it.
The NCAA hilariously tries to maintain the illusion of amateurism, so it suspends guys like Pryor for doing things that, on their surface, are utterly harmless. It does this so it can generate enough public outrage about player malfeasance to continue to profit mightily off of players without them seeing a fair share of the revenue.
The NFL, pleased that the NCAA will develop players and develop the brand image of those players without asking the NFL for help, is more than happy to be complicit in this sham and goes ahead and follows the NCAA's lead. Even though, in the real world, this kind of carryover would never happen.
In terms of Pryor's career, this suspension means little. He wasn't going to play in these games anyway. But as a precedent, it's important, because it shows just how slavishly the NFL will carry the water for the NCAA, a body everyone knows is incompetent and corrupt. If the NFL really wanted to protect their image, they'd overturn the ruling and tell the NCAA to get their house in order. Don't hold your breath.