“This presents a number of novel legal issues that almost fall through a number of cracks, not just one crack,” said Robert Boland, a former agent who teaches sports business and antitrust law at New York University. “When the players’ union and owners agree, there’s no antitrust liability. The players union hasn’t necessarily reached that point. They seem a little more tepid.
“What their ultimate position will be will be important to this,” Boland said. “He’s accepted the penalty to get in the draft. Does he have the power to appeal? “
Cornwell, who did not respond to several messages seeking comment Friday, said in an email to the AP on Thursday that he understood the NFL was merely “protecting the integrity of the draft process” by making Pryor sit out until Week 6.
“We understood their concerns,” he said, “accept that they are legitimate concerns, and worked through the process to demonstrate that Terrelle’s decisions regarding making himself eligible were reasonable, if not perfect. The commissioner gave serious consideration to the various issues and decided to balance those issues by allowing Terrelle into the supplemental draft with conditions.”
It now seems that Pryor has not fully agreed to those conditions after all.
“The generally accepted rule of guilty pleas is that it eliminates the ability to appeal,” Boland said. “But that’s in the court room. There are so many things going on at weird angles in this case, it’s almost impossible to assess.”
AP Sports Writers John Wawrow in Rochester, N.Y. and Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.