NFL Teams Could Lose Draft Pick, Fine for Inappropriate Behavior in Draft Interviews

Adam WellsJanuary 5, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20:  Roger Goodell  speaks onstage during the Robin Hood Benefit at Jacob Javits Center on October 20, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood Foundation)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood Foundation

NFL teams could face potential discipline, including forfeiting a draft pick, if they don't conduct themselves in a professional manner during predraft interviews with players. 

In a league memo sent to all 32 teams obtained by Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, clubs would "forfeit a draft pick between the first and fourth round and be fined a minimum of $150,000 if it’s determined a club representative displayed conduct that is 'disrespectful, inappropriate, or unprofessional' during an interview."

Individual team employees could also be subject to fines and/or suspensions. 

There have been several criticisms over the years about the types of questions that teams ask prospective draft picks in interviews.  

In 2018, Steven Ruiz wrote an article for USA Today looking at 15 of the weirdest questions that players have been asked in the predraft process over the years. 

Most of the questions have nothing to do with playing football. Some of them are harmless, including whether or not a player would like to be a cat or dog. 

Josh Katzenstein @jkatzenstein

Western Michigan OT Willie Beavers said the Falcons asked if he'd rather be a cat or dog. He said dog.

A lot of players have talked about how uncomfortable they felt with some of the questions they were asked. 

Former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson told the AP last year that the interview process before the draft feels like an interrogation.

"I can remember sitting in a dark room with a huge spotlight," said Watson, a 2004 first-round pick of the New England Patriots. "There’s a seat there like you’re being interrogated for a crime and all the front office staff is in the back in the shadows and you can’t see them. The guy grabbed my wrist and he’s like: ‘I can feel your pulse, so I know if you’re lying to me.'"

Eli Apple told Comcast Sports Philadelphia (h/t Jim Buzinski of Outsports.com) in 2016 that one of the coaches for the Atlanta Falcons asked if he likes men.

"The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, 'So do you like men?' It was like the first thing he asked me. It was weird. I was just like, 'no.' He was like, 'if you're going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that's how it is around here, you're going to have to get used to it.' I guess he was joking but they just ask most of these questions to see how you're going to react."

The NFL didn't punish the coach, but then-Falcons head coach Dan Quinn issued an apology to Apple, who was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants. 

Per Dane Brugler of The Athletic, one team asked a prospect if he found his mother attractive in 2016. 

The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis from March 1-7. The draft will be held in Las Vegas from April 28-30.