Congressman Compares NBA Age Limit to Slavery

June 7, 2009

Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, wrote that the four-year-old rule, which requires that players be 19 years old and one year removed from their high school graduation, is of “deep concern.”

“It’s a vestige of slavery,” Cohen said Wednesday in a phone interview, noting that most of the players affected by the rule are African-American. “Not like the slavery of 150 years ago, but it’s a restraint on a person’s freedoms and liberties.”

Cohen said he was dismayed to hear that N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern was hoping to extend the age limit to 20. He added that his office was in the process of looking into the legalities of the limit and that a hearing and legislation were possible. He said the issue would fall under the jurisdiction of the House’s Judiciary Committee.

“Hopefully, they’ll just do the right thing,” he said.


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