Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland's interaction with recently drafted Dez Bryant has begun to expose a longstanding, bitter truth in NFL culture -- the notion that players are not men but mere property and will be treated as such. One only needs to examine the NFL's treatment of current and retired players, especially those that are injured, to better understand this culture.
The NFL has long viewed players as fungible property not equal business partners. Business etiquette dictates that one interacts with a valuable partner in a respectful manner at all times. At no time is it acceptable to be profane, derogatory, demeaning, disrespectful or condescending in any fashion.
Jeff Ireland's inflammatory and derogatory questioning of the 'employment seeking wide receiver and soon to be property' Dez Bryant and not the 'human being and soon to be equal business partner' Dez Bryant underscores my assertion.
If the Miami Dolphins GM was truly trying to probe the character of a young man that was born to a single teenage mother whom fell prey to drug use and prison, there were far more constructive and potentially informative ways that he could have chosen to approach it. But Ireland chose to conduct the interview in a manner that was both comfortable and familiar to him.
I believe that asking a young man like Dez Bryant to discuss how he felt that growing up in a challenging home situation molded his character may have been far more revealing and honorable than choosing to ask him if his mother was a prostitute.
Though his mother clearly had some significant issues Dez Bryant has apparently been a good kid. He has never been arrested and other than lying about inadvertently violating an obscure NCAA rule regarding talking with Deion Sanders, whom was acting as a mentor, he has kept himself clear of trouble.
Commissioner Goodell does the 'personal conduct policy' only apply to players/property or should NFL executives be considered role models and held to a similar or higher standard?
Noted journalist Bill Rhoden authored an informative book with an interesting title that speaks far more elegantly on this particular topic. You should read it. It's titled The Forty Million Dollar Slave.
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