This season Kind of Like Sports did not do a mock draft. This year we are going to look at the NFL Draft from a few different angles. First of all, kudos to the NFL for taking a job fair and found a way to dominate a weekend’s worth of sports television. Now there is something nice about seeing young men reach their lifelong dream. The problem comes when people put them in the fish bowl and make that dream a living nightmare for some of the prospects. In search for a story sometimes the picking a part of these athletes goes way too far.
One of my pet peeves are the dreaded “character issues” that get discussed to death. Maybe a guy failed a drug test while he was in college and all of sudden he has character issues. The fact that the results of someone’s drug test makes to media outlet a gross invasion of privacy. If a leak like that existed with any other employer in the world the company would get sued. There no concern if the person involved actually has a problem and how can they get better.
Let us not forget the shaming of players by leaking their Wonderlic scores. There is never a story about a guy who got a surprisingly high mark. No, the idea is to get the low ones out there so fans feel smarter than these college athletes. Which the test by in large is almost useless since it doesn’t effect what a team is going to do with a player.
Some of the young men get into real life legal situations while they are in school. The poster boy for “draft or not to draft” was Joe Mixon this season. Mixon was a running back from Oklahoma University who punched a woman and it was caught on video. Now what he did was indefensible but he was punished and has not had any incident since then. Of course, Mixon’s biggest problem was that his transgression showed up on video. Many of guys have had what sounded to be worse issues but still were not made the poster boy of “he should never get a shot at the NFL”.
At the end of the day Mixson got his shot because he is extremely talented. Now is a first-round talent who went lower because he needed to appear have paid some price. Also, teams wanted his stock to fall because of the opportunity to get gifted commodity for a lower than market rate. It’s not a far stretch to believe NFL teams help push rumors and negative narratives about players to improve their chance of landing said player. Taking it back to 1983, it seems like there was a vested interest in make sure Dan Marino’s alleged cocaine use was a major topic of discussion. This was something that haunted Marino for most of his hall of fame career despite him never failing a drug test.
We have seen guys like Randy Moss and Warren Sapp have their draft stock drop drastically over things that were said about them. So why do we tune into the draft exactly? Because of everything previously mentioned. It’s a full scale Three Ring Circus with a lot of moving parts. We are here for all of it. That is why we build the preconceived heroes and villains.
Keith B. Holt
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