Let me ask you a question: if you went to a job interview and they asked you a question about your mother’s job history, wouldn’t you wonder what the relevance is? Now another question: if at a job interview you were asked if your mother use to be a prostitute, wouldn’t you be angry?
Well that is what happened to former Oklahoma State Wide Receiver Dez Bryant in a pre-NFL Draft interview. Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland has apologized to Bryant (now that the story has become public) for asking him before last week’s NFL Draft if his mother was a prostitute. Ireland said to the media that “My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I'm considering drafting. Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions.” So, since it is public knowledge that Bryant’s mother was arrested years ago for drug distribution, in Ireland’s mind this was a valid question to find out about Dez Bryant’s character.
This is disgraceful for any potential employer to ask someone such a question with no formal information that would make it relevant. In a recent interview Dez Bryant called Jeff Ireland an “A-list A-hole” for asking such a question. While some may say him saying that about Ireland was unnecessary you need to put yourself in his position for a moment. Bryant is a guy who has had people question his character and work ethic almost totally based on the fact that he was suspended by the NCAA because he had a get together with Deion Sanders to talk about Bryant’s potential in the NFL. The NCAA claimed Bryant did not fully disclose the details of his meeting with Sanders and cited a NCAA bylaw (which most college sports experts say was loosely interpreted).
Since this suspension Bryant has been overly scrutinized and this story coming to light is an example of how low some people in the NFL will go to pick apart potential employees. Whether its Tim Tebow or Dez Bryant, people who work for NFL Franchises seem to want to find things wrong with potential players then just see these athletes for what they are, positives AND negatives. It should be pointed out that this isn’t a recent issue with NFL executives. NFL Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Jack Lambert, Warren Moon, Deacon Jones, Johnny Unitas, and John Randle were all picked apart by the “geniuses” in the NFL.
But what Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland asked Bryant was more than just picking at him. To ask a man if his mother is a prostitute is unprofessional, disgraceful and disgusting. Just because someone has a parent with a history of bad behavior does not mean that reflects onto the child’s ability to do a job. I do not blame Dez Bryant for calling Ireland an “A-List A-hole”. In fact I have a new level of respect for Bryant because he sat there and said no instead of lashing out at Ireland. The fact he stayed under control during the interview shows me he is more professional and controlled then the man interviewing him, Jeff Ireland.
If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cares about the conduct of those in the professional league he oversees he needs to discipline Ireland for his crass behavior toward a young man in his early 20’s. Goodell suspended Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger 6 games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy for bad judgment and a history of making bad decisions off the field. Shouldn’t Goodell use the same standards in dealing with NFL team executives he uses with the players in the NFL? Ireland’s unprofessionalism is what has been revealed in the media happens behind closed doors in the NFL. It is slowly coming out about what else gets asked and said to potential NFL players in these interviews. This has gone beyond finding out about someone’s character, this is disgraceful. When former Stanford Running Back Toby Gerhardt is asked by an NFL executive if he feels “entitled to play” in the NFL because he is white then it’s safe to say that the people who really need to be scrutinized may not be the athletes as much as the executives in the suits.
Needless to say, Dez Bryant must be very happy he was not drafted by the Miami Dolphins. I certainly wouldn’t want to work for a company where one of my bosses asked me if my mom was a prostitute.