Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland issued a public apology to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant today 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.
With his statement today, Ireland confirmed that he was the one who asked the question. Bryant was posed the query 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.
Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports broke the news of the question last week:
The media criticism has been frustrating, but some of the probing from prospective employers has been downright offensive to Bryant. During one visit, the receiver sat in the office of a franchise’s high-level executive and was asked a shocking question.
“They asked me if my mom’s a prostitute,” Bryant says, an account that was confirmed by Wells, who attended the meeting. “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.”
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 she served a prison term during Dez’s childhood; at various times he lived with relatives and family friends. Dez and Angela are very close, and she will be with him at Wells’ house for a festive draft party Thursday evening.
Ireland apology as part of a statement released by the Dolphins today:
“My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I’m considering drafting. 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.”
Ireland also received permission from the Cowboys front office to speak with Bryant personally on Tuesday.
So why did it take Ireland a week to apologize? Earlier Tuesday Silver, who wrote the original piece in which Bryant revealed the question but not the questioner, outed Ireland as the man who posed the personal query to the wide receiver.
That doesn’t answer though why Ireland’s apology today didn’t include a conversation with Bryant’s mother, Angela.
Another good question, something Ireland apparently is short of these days.
UPDATE (4/28, 2:57p ET): NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith released a statement today commenting on Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland’s controversial line of questioning during a pre-draft interview of Dez Bryant:
“We need to make sure the men of this league are treated as businessmen. 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.”