Today is one of those days when the NFL made a good decision. It doesn’t happen often. The decision to add an extra game Programming in a sport that can cause brain damage during a global pandemic could be a short-term financial win, but it’s making the product worse and ethically problematic. However, the changes the NFL is making to the scouting combination are very much needed.
Two of the biggest changes are that the Wonderlic test will no longer be administered and teams are prohibited from asking inappropriate questions to potential clients. Any team that is found to have asked a draft question a question that exceeds the limit can be fined up to $ 150,000 and possibly lose a draft pick between Round 1 and Round 4, for the Associated Press.
Ahh yeah, that wonderful racial whistle known as the Wonderlic test. We all know that the best way to judge a pro athlete’s attitude is to see how many word puzzles he can solve in 12 minutes. The purpose of the test is to judge a player’s problem-solving skills when given a limited amount of time, much like a soccer match only lasts a few seconds, so a player has to respond instinctively.
At first glance, it would make sense to use this test as a tool for assessing the NFL’s perspectives, except that football is a very specific set of skills. Players invited to the NFL scouting team have likely been studying and playing soccer games for a decade. Their bodies and minds are trained to react within seconds on a crossing path or a pulling guard, not to quickly figure out the next number in a sequence.
That’s why Donovan McNabb scored a 14, the lower of any quarterback in the 1999 Draft class, but he turned out to be the best quarterback in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. Also, the test has been panned for longer doctors And researchers because of thiss true ineffectiveness in predicting NFL player success, and the fact is culturally biased.
Then there are the requests players are asked in the interview process. NFL teams have harassed players during the drafting process for decades. The NFL employee who asked the question is already in the league, while the player who was asked the question is trying to get in the league therefore there is an imbalance of power, which has led to asking rude and sometimes aberrant questions. Most famous, of course, are Dez Bryant who was asked if his mother was a Miami Dolphins prostitute and when Eli Apple was asked if he liked men.
Like any situation involving harassment or abuse, for the few cases that are in the public domain, there are likely many more that will never be widely known. It’s helpful to sit down and talk to the players face-to-face, but this should be a job interview. Asking offensive / insulting questions, or asking about a person’s lifestyle, are clear human resource violations in any other line of work and shouldn’t be any different in the NFL.
Foresight project evaluation is an inexact science. All of these players invited to the combo are excellent college football players, and for decades the teams have been trying to find the best process to avoid drafting the next Courtney Brown, Mike Mamula, Ryan Leaf, or JaM.arcus Russell.
Hiring people in general is an inexact science. A manager has an inbox full of resumes and he has to find the best people in that inbox. What cannot be allowed is that bias, whether implicit or not, or intimidation is used in the hiring process.
Just because, in the NFL, the job they’re hiring for requires running into other humans at full speed shouldn’t give the league the license to treat participants as anything less than human beings.