Were they really vetted properly?
Martin Mayhew - "Hi Mikel...do you smoke pot"?
Mikel Leshoure - "No".
MartinMayhew - "OK....thanks"
Martin Mayhew - "Hi Nick...do you smoke pot"?
Nick Fairley - "No".
Martin Mayhew - OK....thanks"
All the guys were drug tested at the Combine. I realize the teams can hire PI's to do background checks on players but if you test negative and you ask the guy and he says no, not sure what else you can reasonably do - absent a legit reason to really dig into someone's background which I guess you'd do on most first rounders. Not sure after that.
If that's the extent of the 'background check' then people should be fired.
If you ran a company and you could only hire 1 of the top 100 graduates each year and then tie up $M in multi-year contracts I'd imagine you'd be doing a helluva lot more research. Background checks, interviewing relatives and friends, acquantances, and former coaches and team-mates. The GM should paraphrase Marcelus Wallace's speech about Butch and say "if that mutha ever was ever pulling weeds in the garden, I wanna know about it." You can count the number of new hirees that you'll be bringing in that will actually impact your team on the hand of a bad woodshop teacher.
Sometimes they simply throw the reports away or turn a blind eye because someone fell to them that they didn't expect.
Maybe there's a reason that Fairley fell as far as he did from initially being considered for the #1 overall spot just a few months earlier.
I can't believe the league even cares about pot. It isn't performance enhancing and it's far less damaging than alcohol - and god knows lots of NFL players like to get drunk.
Regarding background checks, most of these guys aren't choir boys. You're going to dig up all kinds of dirt. You also can't just replace one random employee with another - these guys are getting paid to score touchdowns and make tackles, not push paper around.
By and large these teams know who the knuckleheads are during the draft, before the draft, and after the draft. They get graded/drafted accordingly but on field performance will get you a second and third shot in the league just about no matter what you did. Go ask Michael Vick.
What you or I think about pot isn't relevant, it's ILLEGAL. And it would be asinine for the league to not curry public opinion by not putting up with it.
You're stereotyping by basically saying they are 'not choirboys' so that you just have to take the good with the bad. Guess what? MOST of the league HASN'T been arrested It's possible to actually have players who are not only non-criminal but actually productive members of society.
And the player you reference is the one that's the poster child for non-due diligence: Michael Vick. It wasn't unknown that he was involved in nasty sheet and the dog-fighting rumors were floating around prior to the massive contract extension Atlanta handed him. They dropped the ball by not doing what a real business would: take a look behind the curtain.
And it's not just the $ or the PR, a guy isn't worth a damn if he's suspended.
Guys fall in the draft due to character issues now and teams are flat out stupid to not move guys down who have these issues since there's a much greater likelihood that they'll be unavailable when they need them to play. And then GMs and coaches get fired, too.
It shouldn't be illegal and in some states it isn't. I understand coming down hard on steroids, stimulants, and anything that can be used as a performance enhancing substance, but I don't think they should even bother testing for pot. That said, there are a couple things we agree with.
If your job is high paying, and particularly if it is limited to a dozen or so years tops, and you know you will be drug tested regularly by your employer and subject to a loss of pay if you get in trouble with the law, you are a complete fool for smoking pot. Same goes for driving drunk, getting in fights, etc.
That said, personnel decisions are all a matter of calculated risk. Vincent Jackson has been convicted of at least one or two DUIs, but he still started for San Diego and got a nice FA contract - because he's better than anyone else they could get. Most GMs and coaches would rather start a knucklehead version of Calvin Johnson for 8-10 non-suspended games per year than start Davone Bess for 16.
When it's time for the draft or free agency, GMs draft/sign players with first round talent in the later rounds who fell due to off field issues, injury risks, etc. Some of them will wash out and live up to their reputation, but you can also find some real diamonds in the rough. Calvin Johnson admitted to smoking pot to the Lions before the draft and they drafted him anyway. Think they regret it?