Of the top 10 NFL players in our Power Grid, #10 Dez Bryant is the only one who hasn’t played a game in the league yet. Though he’s a highly-regarded player, that’s not why he ranks so highly – he went 24th overall to the Dallas Cowboys in last month’s draft, and even top overall pick Sam Bradford placed only 28th overall on our grid. No, Bryant’s in the top 10 because in pre-draft interviews, NFL teams got overly concerned with Bryant’s mother’s sex life.
As outlandish as it sounds, it’s true – Yahoo’s Michael Silver first reported one NFL executive asked Bryantif his mother was a prostitute. (Bryant said that no, she was not.) Silver later revealed that executive was the Miami Dolphins’ Jeff Ireland (#1 in our NFL executive rankings, probably because of the Bryant flap as well), and Silver made his opinion on the issue very clear:
I realize there will be plenty of people who’ll try to defend such actions as sound management techniques. Some of you who operate under the assumption that the NFL is a hallowed American institution that’s beyond reproach will say these are justifiable screening tactics, given the multimillion dollar investments teams make in signing highly drafted players. Others will undoubtedly rationalize the confronting of athletes with unpleasant topics as a shrewd personality test, a means of gauging players’ reactions to stressful circumstances and assessing self-control.
And I’m not buying any of it. Maybe this kind of crap flies in your fantasy league, but if you think it’s cool for actual NFL team executives to behave this way, you need a reality check.
Ireland eventually apologized after a significant public outcry. One has to think Bryant would trade his extra notoriety for never having to deal with the question and its fallout to begin with, but the good news there is he’s making a strong impression on the Cowboys with his play on the field. Bryant’s talent was never in question, and if he keeps up what he’s done so far, maybe it will once again be what he’s best known for.