The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
 
Maurice Clarett Petitions Hall of Fame For Early Entry
Originally posted 9/22/2003

Clarett waves to admirers in Canton this week
CANTON, OH - The strange saga of Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett continued this week when Clarett, a college sophomore, petitioned the Pro Football Hall of Fame for early entry. Clarett and his attorneys contend that the rule requiring a player to be retired from professional football at least five years before he can be considered for induction, and to have played professional football in the first place, is unconstitutional.

"This rule is clearly an attempt by the football establishment to keep young black men out of the Hall of Fame," said Alan C. Milstein, Clarett's attorney. "It's unfair, and it goes against everything this country stands for. If we have to, we're prepared to sue for Maurice's rights."

"I just want to do my thing," said Clarett when pressed for an explanation of the lawsuit. When asked what his "thing" was, Clarett responded, "you know. My thing. I just want to do it." When asked yeah, but what "thing" do you mean, like, playing football, or, getting on with college, or, sorting out the legal mess you've found yourself in, Clarett responded, "just, you know, my thing."

Pro Football Hall of Fame Executive Director John Bankert said that the Hall will not rescind its policy for Clarett, and will fight any lawsuits brought about by the Clarett camp. "We're happy with our standards, they've worked so far, and we don't think someone as young as Maurice Clarett is ready for the life of a pro football Hall of Famer. Especially since he hasn't actually played pro football."

"The constitutionality of the rule in question is what's at issue here," said Alan Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University and best-selling author. "Clearly, not giving someone the opportunity to be inducted into your institution simply on the basis of race, or age, or qualifications, whether your institution happens to be a school, or a place of business, or the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is a gross violation of civil rights."

Several others disagreed with Dershowtiz and Clarett's point of view. "As far as I've always understood it, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is pretty much just for people who have excelled in the field of pro football," said veteran "Sports Illustrated" football writer and Hall of Fame voter Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman.

Standing on the steps for the Hall of Fame in Canton this week Clarett vowed, lawsuit or no lawsuit, that "as for my thing: I have been doing it for some time, and I intend to keep doing so for the foreseeable future."

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