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NFL owners get defensive after league exec Troy Vincent compares scouting union to 'slave auction'

IRVING, TX – Several people responded Wednesday when NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent called the NFL scouting mix NFL team owners launch attack at league meeting, multiple people present told CBS Sports that it was a “slave auction.”

Vincent spoke with owners Wednesday morning to announce changes to the combine that would involve a less tedious medical evaluation process and a closer look at the team’s response to the draft Questions raised by the foreground. The combine and other pre-draft evaluations have been criticized for what some see as dehumanizing methods of obtaining player information.

“We just felt like the overall experience, talking to the players, we could do better in that particular area,” Vincent told the press later in the day. “So, I would say there’s a good discussion around what this looks like, where we might be, remembering the combine is the first time a player is playing in the NFL, and in that experience, there has to be dignity.

“This is a great opportunity for young people, but there has to be some form of dignity and dignity and respect as they go through the process. That’s the overarching theme around our joint [discussion]. “

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Sources in the ownership meeting revealed details of what Vincent said among the team owners, including a reference to slave auctions. According to the source, at the meeting, Vincent’s remarks immediately sparked Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who has a strong track record on diversity and inclusion during his two decades in the NFL, stood up and said he was offended. Displeased with the idea of ​​an event that could be seen as racist.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones followed Blank behind the microphone. Jones talked about the The “privilege” of playing in the NFL. (A Cowboys spokesman said Jones didn’t say “privilege” but “opportunity.”) He pointed out how many college football players, only about 300, are Fewer people were drafted.

Steelers owner Atruni II then pointed out that the team needed the necessary information from the combine to make an informed decision, according to sources. Looney, who chairs the NFL’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which brought its coaching and executive diversity accelerator program to the meetings , declined to comment on the minutes.

Then Bills owner Terry Pegula took the microphone and made a point that confused many in the room. According to sources, Pegula a didn’t condone the joint weigh-in (not televised), but seemed to play the devil’s advocate role, which is ultimately what people want to see.

He then tried to link football to women’s tennis, the sport of his daughter Jessica, who is ranked No. 3 in the world. Bill’s boss appeared to regret the sometimes revealing attire he said encouraged female tennis players to wear. Some sources have interpreted his comments as a level of exploitation in every sport. Another source simply called them “incoherent”. The conversation ended shortly after Pegula’s confusing comments.

The talk is not entirely new, as the merge process has been discussed and changed over time. But the tone of the discussion is notable. Vincent, a former professional bowler who has been the head of football operations in the NFL since 2014, has discussed topics such as kneeling during the national anthem and discrepancies in coaching hiring, citing his interview with “NFL News” from inside the league office. Bridge Builders” The Root.

Vincent started talking about the combine, as the entire pre-selection process has been overhauled in recent years. The league no longer releases the Wonderlic Test, an aptitude test criticized for its bias and relevance. Prior to this date, the Senior Bowl and Shrine Bowl had canceled public measurements and weigh-ins.

The combine is critical for NFL team medical information and player interviews. As CBS Sports first reported two weeks ago, the league has adjusted its combined schedule for next year after consulting with players and their representatives about better practices.

“The most important thing is over time, what the players bring up is, ‘Here I am, I’m excited about this, I have to go and get an extra medical. I’m sitting Waiting four or five hours for an MRI machine in a hospital. I have to have multiple meetings about the same type of injury,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday. “For us it’s really about trying to improve the experience. They talk about sleep deprivation because they go to work at 1 in the morning and then they have to come back at 5 and then they have to perform on the pitch. Said is an important factor because they want to perform at the highest level.

“I think all of this explains why we want to provide a better experience for upcoming players, making sure They have the best expressive ability. And to make sure the club obviously got the information, but they had to do it in an appropriate and professional manner. “

A player’s physical exam can take a full day. They do it by many team doctors by locating teams throughout the day to different exam rooms and hospitals. Doctors test players over the course of a week Hundreds of scans and MRIs were performed.

Union did not “seem to find all necessary scans, pokes and prods. Chief physician Allen Sills gave the example of a college player who probably injured his knee a few months before the combine and had an MRI done postoperatively. Sills said that in Indianapolis, doctors can retrieve the MRI instead of having the player do another MRI.

The combine is also known for the questions the team asks potential clients. They range from weird and bizarre to inappropriate and, technically, illegal in a job interview. Cornerback Eli Apple said in 2016 that a team asked him if he was a man. Former NFL defensive end Obum Gwacham said he was asked by a team in 2015 when he lost his virginity. Perhaps the most infamous joint interview question came in 2010, when Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. Ireland later apologized to Bryant.

According to sources, Vincent relayed a story during the ownership meeting about an unnamed black player who was claimed by an unnamed team during an interview rap. It’s unclear if the player has a background in music or rap, but it’s implied – at least – that white players won’t be asked the question.

“When we talk to [players] during their draft experience,” Vincent said, “we ask this question: In your first time with the NFL In the interaction, what should we do? Those people are very open, sometimes they share something with you, and then you scratch your head. A lot of times you are embarrassed. You can say these are things we can solve, these are things we can adjust to make the entire prospect experience better.”



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