Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dez Bryant vs. Jeff Ireland: No Mama Drama

This article is dedicated to Bobby Shoemaker, a true NFL expert.

Players in the NFL are not just judged by their talent, but by their emotional maturity. Many talented athletes have entered the NFL and had their careers ended by stupid decisions. Todd Marinovich’s NFL career was ended by drug usage within two seasons (and he was drafted before Brett Favre). Plaxico Burress is currently in prison for unlawfully carrying a handgun with which he accidentally shot himself in the leg. Darrell Russell had a successful NFL career before drug use led to him being suspended for 1.5 years, which led to a decline in his performance and early end to his NFL career. He died in a car crash in 2005. All three of these men were first-round picks, but their actions led to short NFL careers. That is why teams want to make sure that the players they select will be responsible and mature.

Last year, the San Francisco 49ers wanted to have a psychiatrist evaluate quarterback Matt Stafford because his parents were divorced. He refused and they made it clear that they would not draft him. It did not matter because they had the tenth pick and he was the first pick of the draft. Was the request of a psychiatrist to evaluate him unreasonable? Yes. But was it beyond insulting? No. He was able to politely decline their request and was picked up way before they had a chance to draft him.

There is a difference between actions being reasonable, unreasonable, and beyond insulting. For a player to turn down a reasonable request can make the player look bad to the public. If a potential NFL player refused to run the 40-yard dash or prove how much weight he can bench press, the refusal of a reasonable request could make teams look at the player in a negative light. If teams ask an unreasonable request of a player, the refusal can be done in a way that will not make teams look down on the player. Maybe the 49ers didn’t like Matt Stafford’s answer, but it made no impact on the team with the first draft pick. Since the question was unreasonable, Stafford’s answer was very reasonable.

Then there are actions that are beyond insulting. The General Manager of the Miami Dolphins, Jeff Ireland, decided to ask wide receiver Dez Bryant if his mother was ever a prostitute. He wanted to see how Dez would react. Dez was angry, but he did not show his feelings. Jeff Ireland is lucky that Dez Bryant did not attack him.

Dez Bryant’s mother was involved in drugs, but there were no allegations of prostitution. Had there been actual rumors, it may seem fair for Jeff Ireland to address the rumors. Had Jeff Ireland asked him about his mother’s involvement with drugs, it would have been reasonable. But Jeff Ireland was only looking to provoke a fight for the sake of testing the tempter of Dez Bryant.

In my personal opinion, this was an abuse of Jeff Ireland’s power and verbally abusive to Dez Bryant. Let’s look at the situation this way. Dez Bryant is a potential employee interviewing for a job with multiple companies. He will go to the team that drafts him with the highest draft pick. If one team is not interested in him and he is not selected before they have a draft pick, then he will be drafted lower. His goal is to impress every team that he can so he can be drafted as high as possible. Jeff Ireland, as a boss, was asking a question that was more than unreasonable. It was beyond offensive.

Talking about a player’s mother in such a disrespectful manner is abusive. To question her sexual morality is almost as bad as to accuse her of sexual immorality, because it is an accusation without any proof of her sexual history. Jeff Ireland’s choice to question if Dez Bryant’s mother was a prostitute is worse than asking if she was a slut. He is implying the possibility that she had sex with men for financial gain.

I hope that the NFL puts a fine on Jeff Ireland or the Miami Dolphins fire him. What he did was not a mistake. It was a horrific question into the morality of Dez Bryant’s mother for the sake of provocation, not knowledge. I am a fan of the Washington Redskins and Dez Bryant has been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys (the rival team of the Redskins). While he plays for the rival team, I hope that he has a great career in the NFL…

…with the exception of games in which he plays against the Redskins!


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