The NFL Draft is an event that can change a players life. Standout college athletes have an opportunity to make millions of dollars. Teams make a huge investment in those players. Many times, things don’t work out. NFL franchises have a long history of processes designed to weed out those players who might eventually be troublesome.
Prospective pros are run through a litany of physical and mental tests that are designed to evaluate their character and readiness for the league. Players have complained about the invasive process in the past. This year the league is looking to change things.
The National Football League has sent its member teams a memo outlining the expectations for their treatment of potential draft picks. The shield has threatened to strip teams of picks no later than the fourth round and fine them $150,000 if they engage in conduct that is “disrespectful, inappropriate, or unprofessional” as they interview players. Individual employees are also subject to fines, according to Pro Football Talk.
The memo explains that reports of offensive questions have resulted in several inquiries from state attorneys general regarding the pre-draft process. The league has forbidden a specific series of questions from being asked. These banned topics include queries about race, color, disability, national origin, religion, marital status, and sexual orientation.
“You should under no circumstances ask about any of these subjects prior to drafting or signing a player. Prospects are encouraged to report offensive conduct without retaliation. All clubs should ensure that prospective draft picks are afforded a respectful and professional NFL environment — one that is consistent with state and federal law and our shared commitment to respect, diversity and inclusion”
The consequences for any inappropriate questions during player interviews will be stiff. No team wants to lose a valuable draft pick. The individual fines in place should prevent front office staff from going rogue. It appears the NFL is finally working to clean up the draft process that has left so many players feeling uncomfortable in the past.
What do you think of the NFL’s new rules for player interviews? Let us know in the comments!