UPDATE: Congress Stinks A Little Less Today As They Are Now Allowing Army Linebacker And Potential First Round Pick Andre Carter II To Enter The NFL Draft In The Spring
In a shock to most, Congress corrected (kinda) their mistake and now Andre Carter II will be eligible for the draft next spring.
After an outcry over the future of star Army linebacker Andre Carter II, politicians scrambled to alter the language of a recently passed congressional bill that clears his path to the upcoming NFL draft.
New language formally filed Tuesday morning in a piece of end-of-year legislation will restore the opportunity for Carter and other current academy upperclassmen at Army, Navy and Air Force to defer military service to pursue professional sports.
A provision has been included in the omnibus appropriations measure, expected to pass this week, to make Carter and other current academy upperclassmen eligible for a waiver that will allow for a legacy exception for a 2019 ruling that allowed deferred service to play pro sports. This provision appeared on the Senate appropriations website Tuesday morning.
As you read last week, Andre was going to be on the wrong end of the latest iteration of "You Don't Have To Be Smart To Be In Congress" when Rep Gallagher (R-WI) introduced legislation to deny academy grads military deferment to play in the NFL.
That is the biggest point that is lost on many here - this isn't an "either or" situation. It's not NFL or uphold your commitment. The previous legislation allowed a cadet to defer his service commitment until he was done playing. The average career in the NFL is 3-4 years so that just meant Andre would serve his commitment starting at age 25 instead of 22. We allow enlistment in the Army into your 30s these days so he would be well within that window. I sincerely hope Andre has a prosperous career beyond the average and I truly believe he is capable of doing just that so I'm happy he will get his shot.
But what about going forward? Congress needs to stop flip flopping and just let academy grads pursue careers in other fields. I hate to use a navy guy as a prime example, but my friend Joe Cardona is a textbook example of how you can still serve your country while playing in the NFL. When his Patriot teammates go on vacation after the season, Joe is deploying to Djibouti on a ship. Hey Congress! Give us permanent legislation that allows for both! We currently have no problem when cadets defer for a Rhodes Scholarship or medical school so why should pro football be any different? Spoiler: It shouldn't.
We hope to have Congressman Gallagher back on ZBT to discuss this further. In the meantime, we discussed on today's show
P.S. I am going to be mighty ticked off if I have to blog this next year or the year after the next time Army has a NFL prospect so if Congress doesn't want to deal with my wrath, they will fix themselves.