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Reilly's take on Dez Bryant

5/4/2010

ESPN's Rick Reilly wonders why the struggles of a player's parents are relevant during a job interview. Reilly talks about how some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century overcame troubled childhoods.

He doesn't feel like Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant should have to answer for his mother's past. And Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland once again comes off looking like the villain. As I've explained over the past few days, I don't think it's that cut and dry.

NFL executives who are about to commit an enormous amount of guaranteed money to a player would like to know who else might be moving to town. Ireland has already acknowledged that he should've never asked whether Bryant's mother, Angela, was a prostitute.

But knowing Angela's history of selling crack cocaine, should teams have simply kept their mouths shut and paid Bryant his $15 million before he ever stepped on the field? I don't think so. Questions about Bryant's upbringing were relevant in the pre-draft process because teams like to know who might influence him during his career.

I think Ireland would certainly like a do-over on his infamous question, but all this hand-wringing over intrusive questions is a little much. General managers and scouts aren't trained to recommend players based on blind faith. I think Dez Bryant's essentially a good kid who's been compared unfairly to the Randy Moss of 12 years ago. He doesn't have a criminal record and the only knock on him is that he was habitually late for meetings at Oklahoma State. (My editors also know someone who's habitually late.)

But to say that teams don't have a right to investigate a prospect's past strikes me as pretty naive. You're taking one ill-conceived question and acting like it's the downfall of the league. My guess is that teams will continue to pry about a player's upbringing.

But at least for the time being, I'm sure they'll try to be a bit more sensitive in their approach.