An NFL Interrogation Gone Too Far?

Angie MeyerContributor IIApril 29, 2010
Gorgeous Ladies and Gents, a disclaimer: What you are about to hear may bother you. Or, it might possibly raise an alarming concern. We'll beg the question, how intimate can a pro-team be in their line of questioning?
Should there be specific guidelines used by a pro scout when interviewing a potential player? Or, should NFL evaluation questions be tailored to each player on a need-to-know basis?
When NFL teams evaluate a player, they take into consideration a lot more then athletic ability. Sure, it makes sense. A team invests a considerable amount of money, time, and resources into a player, and by doing so, they need ultimate re-assurance that their investment is not a liability to himself or the franchise.
Teams take into consideration potential crisis management issues that may arise and cause damage in time. A franchise will argue that a player who has grown up in an unstable environment could potentially bring issues from home into the workplace.
Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireand went there, this year. During a pre-draft interview with Oklahoma State Wide Receiver Dez Brant, he asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. It's been widely known by football insiders that Dez Bryant's mother was very young when she had him. However, one would argue that's hardly an adequate excuse for such a harsh line of questioning.
Ireland's inquiry was crass, no doubt, and extends beyond an a typical background evaluation. Was Ireland trying to iron-out a potential crease of instability? Or, was his line of questioning a misconstrued attack on Dez Bryant's lifestyle and social heritage?
Arguably, one's upbringing is intuitive of their stature in life. Could a personal family secret creep into the media or affect a players performance later on? While Ireland publicly apologized for asking such a question, we couldn't help but wonder wither this was a case of unfair profiling or a teams viable concern?
To look at this objectively, you really can't relate an NFL pre-draft interview to a regular job interview. Athletes are like celebrities, and their private lives are thrust into the public eye. One's perception of a team, or how it handles it's players is quite different then that of a private company who's employees internal affairs are kept indoors.
Take Ben Roethlisberger for example. His actions off the field have caused a rippled domino effect within the Steelers organization. While his mis-actions had nothing to do with the team or his athletic ability, Roethlisberger's allegations could potentially tarnish both he, and his teams public perception.
Glam Girls Guide to Sports reached out to Scott Kennedy, the Director of Online Scouting of the famed online publication, for more insight. Kennedy helped us better understand the protocol teams and scouts use when evaluating their potential suitors, and which questions negate crossing the line.
Scott Kennedy -
Glam Girls: Is there a protocol, or are there specific guidelines of questioning that scouts are able to ask players?
Scott Kennedy: "Not really, what they’re trying to find out is how players would react to certain situations. Asking something pretty offending is a way to find out how the player takes to being challenged. Basically, they’re like most psychological exams, a bunch of shots in the dark"
Glam Girls: Have there been any similar instances of a scout who has gone too far in his line of questioning?
Scott Kennedy: Most of this stuff doesn’t get reported, every year someone will ask a player “what’s the strangest question you heard”, and a typical answer is something like “would you rather be a cat or a dog”.
Glam Girls: Is a players image, personal background, and/or upbringing taken into consideration (by an NFL team) prior to the draft?
Scott Kennedy: "Absolutely. In fact, there are private investigators that specialize in this type of thing. It’s only understandable to do due diligence on a player’s make up before investing 10s of millions of dollars into him"
Glam Girls: Is an extensive/intimate line of questioning important for a team to expel any "potential" crisis management situations in the future?
Scott Kennedy: "I think it’s important to a certain extent to see how the personalities are going to mesh. Different coaches and different players all have different personalities. Meeting someone and shaking their hand and looking them in the eye is very important when deciding to invest millions and see how he’s going to fit in with the rest of the team. Too many people look at the players as if it’s a video game, but there is a very real, very combustible human element to every player and every team"
This debate has a variety of elements to take into consideration. It's an interesting dynamic on player selection that's rarely been examined, however definitely worth future review.
Stay Fabulous, and Stay in the know,