The Audacity Of Jeff Ireland
In case it did not occur to anyone following my posts both on Facebook and Twitter for the last two days, I am still a bit upset at Miami Dolphins’ GM, Jeff Ireland’s line of questioning during a pre-draft interview with WR Dez Bryant. After doing some research, I have discovered that Ireland comes from a long line of football pedigree. Yes he has had the golden spoon handed to him from birth. This is not to take nothing away from Ireland, who must have done something right to earn the job as GM for Miami’s NFL franchise.
I hope no one walks away from reading my blog feeling that I have anything against Ireland and his “pedigree,” god knows I have had my fair share of being called an elitist. The only difference, the people who nicknamed me elitist, will testify to my kind heartedness and “one of the regular” folks kind of attitude – but this blog is not about me.
This scribe came to further reiterate that Ireland went “there” with his line of pre-draft questions. The background of Bryant and his mother was widely reported prior to the draft. Angela, Bryant’s mom was only 15 when Dez was born, and she served time in jail for selling crack cocaine. Not that it was any of Jeff Ireland’s business. He was there to evaluate a player on his college experience, “his character,” his future goals and how it would fit in with that of those “sorry” Dolphins.
And to think that Jeff Ireland has four children, this goes beyond everything else I believe in as a parent – as you would generally treat other people’s kids, as if they were your own. I know he has pedigree and all, and that none of his kids might need to answer a “do or die” question to obtain gainful employment, but to you Jeff, I say “have a heart.”
I do not think nor will I ever believe that children choose their mothers or fathers; it’s my best bet that they are more likely to choose their friends. In Dez Bryant’s situation, one bad decision or one bad lie cart-wheeled into the whole intrusive quest to dig up things about his mom.
As if to say, the Miami Heat should have asked Dwayne Wade about his mother’s past, or god forbid someone in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization should pull Ben Roethlisberger, and find out if a family history is to be blamed for his thirst for “bars and women”. The NFL and the Player’s Union should set clear parameters from which “jerks” like Ireland and his other colleagues should operate. Yes, Ireland might not be the only one crossing the line with draft prospects, free agents and other players.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith lashed out at the line of questioning Ireland used. “We need to make sure the men of this league are treated as businessmen,” Smith said in a statement. “During interviews, our players and prospective players should never be subjected to discrimination or degradation stemming from the biases or misconceptions held by team personnel. “NFL teams cannot have the free reign to ask questions during the interview process which can be categorized as stereotyping or which may bring a personal insult to any player as a man. For the past year, active, former and incoming players have heard me speak about the expectations we have of them as members of this union, their teams, communities and families. It is equally true that the same kind of respect is demanded of their employers.”
That’s all well and good for Union Boss DeMaurice Smith, but where is the “Paragon of Virtues” himself Roger Goodell, when we need him to chime in. Mr. Goodell your comments are needed for an issue as this during the current news cycle. NFL Team employees are not allowed to conduct “Gorilla” typed interviews violating player’s human rights and human dignity.
To top it off, Ireland offered an apology after Bryant spoke to several media houses about the line of questions. As a mother, I was extremely proud, that he did not respond in a manner that would have been deemed as unprofessional. I don’t know if I could have done this same, god knows I have thought of the many ways I could have answered him. A sample answer: Did you need a rate sheet?