It all started, for me at least, with the Tuck Rule, when the Oakland Raiders were screwed out of a win over New England thanks to a rule almost no one had heard of. Even the announcers of the game were confused. When the referees mentioned the tuck rule, the announcers sounded like Mel Kiper when the Raiders drafted Mike Mitchell, they had never heard of it before.
For others, it may have started with the Immaculate Reception, when another confusing rule was not followed and the Raiders lost a playoff game as a result.
But either way, if you’re a Raiders fan, you’re used to random (and stupid) NFL rules being a pain in your backside.
The past year, many people involved with the Raiders have expressed frustration at the fact that suspended and troubled linebacker Aldon Smith was not allowed to have contact with the team during his suspension. While I understand a suspension is a punishment, there should be some consideration of what outcome you want. Aldon Smith made mistakes and is paying the price. But if you truly believe addiction is a disease and you want to rehabilitate Smith, it’s counterproductive to impose punishments that make rehabilitation more difficult.
I understand why Aldon Smith is not allowed to play football. I don’t understand why he’s not allowed to workout and interact with teammates and coaches so that he can make football a focus instead of alcohol and drugs.
Now, another seemingly pointless rule is impacting the Raiders.
In the NFL, rookies are not allowed to start participating in team activities until their school year is over. I understand the idea of promoting education but let’s be realistic here, most of these kids have no plans on going back to school unless they are unable to make it in the NFL.
In this case, Eddie Vanderdoes will miss almost all of the Raiders OTAs and minicamps before he is able to join the team again. No matter what Vanderdoes has left to finish at UCLA, I guarantee he isn’t focusing on it. Would you be able to focus knowing you just got drafted into the NFL? So why force him to complete a quarter of school that he likely sees as meaningless.
Vanderdoes, and every other player who entered the draft made a decision about what profession to pursue. It’s not easy to make it in the NFL and forcing a player to miss an offseason schedule is forcing that player to miss something that is preparing them for their chosen profession in favor of something that will have no impact on their ability to succeed at their chosen profession. Allowing players like Vanderdoes to join in team activities doesn’t preclude them from going back to school and finishing up if the NFL doesn’t pan out for them.
But that wouldn’t allow the NFL to pretend they care about education and the youth they plan on turning into cash cows.