Dolphins GM apologizes for asking if WR's mother was a prostitute
Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland issued a public apology to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant on Tuesday in response to Bryant's recent revelation that a "high-level executive" from an NFL team asked him during a pre-draft interview if his mother was a prostitute.
From left to right: Dez Bryant, Bryant's mother, and Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland.
"My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I’m considering drafting," Ireland said. "Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions. Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him."
With his statement, Ireland confirmed that he was the one who asked the question. Ireland asked the question during an April 1-2 visit with the Dolphins as part of a two-week trip in which the former Oklahoma State receiver reportedly visited 11 teams before the NFL Draft.
"They asked me if my mom’s a prostitute," Bryant told Yahoo.com. "No, my mom is not a prostitute. I got mad -- really mad -- but I didn’t show it. I got a lot of questions like that: Does she still do drugs? I sat and answered all of them."
According to Yahoo, Bryant’s mother, Angela, had him when she was 15 and conceived his younger sister and brother within the next three years. She reportedly sold drugs and served a prison term while Bryant was a child. Bryant lived with different relatives and family friends at various times during his upbringing.
DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL players' union, had some choice words after hearing of Ireland's question.
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“We need to make sure the men of this league are treated as businessmen," Smith said in a statement released on the NFLPA's website. "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.”
This isn't the first time the Dolphins have been cited as insensitive -- to say the least -- while Ireland has been with this team. Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Thomas described his unceremonious exit after Miami waived him.
"The only thing that was like a punch in the gut to me was the day I was cleaning out my locker, the day they cut me, [agent] Drew [Rosenhaus] asked them if I could just say thanks to the fans through the media at the Dolphins facility and their answer was, 'No, he's not a Dolphins player anymore, he's got to do it off premises.'" Thomas said, according to the Miami Herald. "That's when you know, like, 'Wow,' the whole loyalty and everything they preach with team and things like that goes out the window."
Bryant, a star at Oklahoma State, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA last season for having contact with
an agent. That "agent" was former NFL superstar Deion Sanders.
Bryant, who was widely considered the best wide receiver in the draft (though he was the second WR taken), dropped to No. 24, when the Cowboys traded up to get him.