A question asked in former OSU receiver Dez Bryant’s pre-draft interview with the Dolphins has put the spotlight on the NFL’s interviewing tactics. AP photo
That’s true of both athlete and executive.
There were two appropriate responses to Ireland’s question.
1. Look the fool straight in the eye, stand up and walk out. Call a press conference immediately and tell the world what happened. Let the inquisitor start tackling tough questions.
2. Sock Ireland right in the nose, then follow Step 1.
Dez couldn’t risk that, of course. He already is emotionally beat down, from a rough draw in life to his mistakes in Stillwater. He’s walking a tightrope, to prove people wrong and stay out of commissioner Roger Goodell’s hoosegow and show Jerry Jones that Dallas has a new star.
But let’s say Dez had stood up to the grilling. He would have been a cult hero among fellow ballplayers. And he just might have stood taller in the eyes of NFL executives.
Dignity is quite becoming. Seems to me that’s exactly what football franchises are looking for, young men capable of standing up for themselves, especially when they’re in the right. Turning the other cheek will get you to heaven; it won’t get you to the Super Bowl.
These pre-draft interviews show how out of balance is the relationship between teams and players. The personality tests, the personal questions, the meat-market mentality.
It’s the same imbalance we see between franchises and veteran players, who do not have so much as guaranteed contracts in a sport with a shorter shelf life than all others and greater risk of injury.
The players union is weak. Has been for decades. The lack of protection for the union’s incoming members proves it.
The union should counsel these rookies not how to answer silly questions, but how to stand up to the nonsense.
Let the revolution begin. Punch the NFL right in the nose.
405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.