The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

League should take action

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In life, there are always lines that are not to be crossed. When you're young, cross them with your parents and you get grounded. When you're older, cross them with your boss and find yourself terminated or in the doghouse. Cross them with your wife or girlfriend and the only ones that wind up happy is ProFlowers.com, who will no doubt thank you for your business.

The NFL is no different. The league continues to grow in popularity each year and now there seems to be a self-righteousness that comes with that red, white and blue NFL shield. That's probably why Dolphins' GM Jeff Ireland felt he was justified when he asked prospect Dez Bryant in a pre-draft interview if his mother had ever been a prostitute.

Teams invest a lot of money in players, athletes that may or may not pan out in the end. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where we've seen one player accused of sexual assault (twice), one player accused of shooting up a strip club, one player indicted on federal dog-fighting charges and one player that stock piled enough weapons in his home to make the Marines blush. So when teams sit down to interview prospects for the draft, nobody blames them for getting a little intimate with their questioning.

That said, when did the league feel as though it could cross boundaries without fear of repercussion? Since when was it appropriate to ask a prospect whether or not his own mother was ever a prostitute? Furthermore, what did Ireland expect to accomplish with that question? (I must have overlooked the graph that teams use that illustrate how many balls a receiver will catch in his career as it relates to how many people his mother slept with for money.)

Ireland's question was degrading, insulting and completely unnecessary. Had Bryant said yes, it shouldn't have made a difference in whether or not the Dolphins drafted him. I realize teams have to do their due diligence when scouting a player, but Ireland crossed the line and it should have sent up a red flag to the league that it needs to regulate its interview policy.

Let's bring it off the gridiron for a second. If you interviewed for a job at IBM and they asked you whether or not your father sold drugs, you would likely be offended. They could claim that your answer could shed light on your character and past, but in the end they're asking you a question that has nothing to do with the job. So why should it be any different in the NFL?

Some fans believe that since these players make millions of dollars in the NFL that questions like Ireland's are appropriate, but they're not. It's a shame that a select few in the NFL have provoked teams to poke and prod prospects as they come into the league, but it still doesn't give general managers the right to ask anything they want.

The league has a responsibility to make sure that no lines are crossed in the interview process going forward. A simple solution would be to have a representative from the league monitor all interviews to make sure there were no inappropriate questions being asked. (Or at the very least, the league could record the conversations and hand out punishment to questions that they deemed crossed the line.)

Teams have the right to find out what kind of player they're about to invest millions of dollars in. But players have the same right not to feel like they're answering questions that would be more appropriate for the "Jerry Springer Show."

By Anthony Stalter  |  April 30, 2010; 12:18 PM ET  | Category:  Draft , Miami Dolphins , NFL , NFL Rules Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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