Is Your Mother a Prostitute?

Asking an NFL prospect such a question is one measure of the lack of respect that athletes must endure.

Jeff Ireland, Miami Dolphins' general manager

Forget about the calls to boycott Arizona for its ridiculous "racial profiling is cool" anti-immigration law. If black folks need our own agenda, boycotting the Miami Dolphins should rank high on our to-do list.

Maybe you heard by now that Dez Bryant, a wide receiver from Oklahoma State and the first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in last month's NFL draft, has had a checkered past.  Specifically, the rap on the brother is that he's immature, irresponsible and a liar who was suspended by the NCAA for concealing his friendship with former all-pro cornerback Deion "Prime Time" Sanders.

So the word was out when Bryant made the rounds of various teams for meet and greets prior to the draft. Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland, the hand-picked protégé of legendary coach Bill Parcells, didn't mince words while questioning Bryant about his troubled family life. Ireland asked Bryant: "Was your mother a prostitute?"

Ireland's crude line of questioning outraged many current and former players such as lineman Kyle Turley who said, "I don't care who you are or who you're talking to--that kind of question usually gets your [expletive] teeth kicked in.  I mean, where do these people come from?  That's just [expletive] classless and totally unprofessional."

Matt Millen, a football analyst for ESPN and the former president of the wretched Detroit Lions, shrugged off Ireland's remarks, saying that in a NFL rookie interview, "there are no questions that are out of bounds."

Millen added, "We're making a big deal out of something that's probably not that big a deal."  Millen said he may have asked a similar question when he was interviewing draft prospects. Maybe he should have asked Charles Rogers, a busted first-round pick by Millen who says he smoked marijuana every day, if he was a stoner.

The NFL thinks of itself as a law unto itself and regularly engages in hiring practices that would never fly in the human resources office of any Fortune 500 company. Prior to the draft, the NFL holds a rookie combine where young men run, jump, lift weights and walk around in their underwear while scouts and personnel staff check their speed, strength and muscle tone like a Virginia slave auction.

The league also administers an I.Q. test called the Wonderlic and, though the results are supposed to be private, scores find their way into the columns of sportswriters and football blogs. Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young and Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher, the subject of the Academy Award-winning film, The Blind Side, both saw their draft stock tumble due to fears their low scores indicated low intelligence.

Ireland: Hi Bill, we've got Dez Bryant coming in for an interview today.

Parcells: He's the kid who lied about knowing Deion Sanders and his mom got busted for selling crack, right?