Thursday, February 2

NFL Teams Face Fines for Asking Draft Prospects About Sexuality and Parents | NFL

The NFL has issued a warning to teams that they could lose a draft pick and face significant fines if club representatives behave unprofessionally in interviews with draft prospects.

In a memo obtained by the Associated Press that was sent to clubs Wednesday, the league said a team would lose a draft pick between the first and fourth rounds and be fined a minimum of $ 150,000 if it is determined that a representative of the club displayed conduct that is “disrespectful, inappropriate or unprofessional” during an interview. Fines and / or suspensions could also be imposed on individual club employees, according to the memo.

In recent years, there have been occasional reports of inappropriate questions being asked of draft prospects.

In 2010, then-Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland apologized to Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Dez Bryant for asking during a pre-draft visit if his mother was a prostitute. In 2016, then-Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn apologized to Eli Apple because one of his coaches asked the cornerback his sexual preference. In 2018, former LSU running back Derrius Guice said one team in the combine asked him about his sexuality and another asked if his mother was a prostitute.

Former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson, who played 16 seasons from 2004-20, compared the interview process to an interrogation.

“I can remember sitting in a dark room with a big spotlight,” Watson told the AP last year. “There’s a seat there like you’re being questioned for a crime and all the office staff are in the back in the shadows and you can’t see them. The guy grabbed my wrist and said, ‘I can feel your pulse, so I know if you’re lying to me. Have you ever smoked marijuana? I said no.’ He really hadn’t. I’ve never smoked.He said, ‘I think you’re lying. I can feel your pulse. Are you lying to us? I said, ‘No, I’m not.

“So for a minute, I thought I was actually smoking marijuana and maybe I need to confess to a crime that I didn’t commit. But these kinds of tactics that are happening in the combine and that are not being monitored should definitely be eliminated. “

Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of soccer operations and a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback, said the league wanted the draft process to be more comfortable for players. “These student-athletes should be celebrated, not humiliated,” Vincent said.

The league also plans to remove the wonderlic test (Commonly used to test cognitive and problem-solving ability) for prospective players, and he’s reviewing some of his scouting combo drills to better simulate game-related movement.

The league reminds teams annually before the combination that federal and state laws, as well as the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association prohibit discrimination based on various factors, including race, color, disabilities, religion, sexual orientation, national origin. and marital status, and questions on these topics are off limits. This is the first time the NFL has threatened specific liability measures if draft prospects are asked about any of these issues.

“All clubs must ensure that prospective draft selections receive a respectful and professional NFL environment, one that is consistent with state and federal laws and our shared commitment to respect, diversity and inclusion,” says the memo. “The same goes for free agents your club might consider signing. It is also important that your club reinforce to prospective players the value your club places on character and the standards of conduct expected of everyone associated with the NFL. “

The combine will take place in Indianapolis again this year, but could move to a new city in 2023-24. Indianapolis, Dallas and Los Angeles are vying for the right to host the combine for the next two years.

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