Only days after he was forced to apologize for using the term “Polack” while engaged in on-air banter with colleague Ron Jaworski, former Lions G.M. Matt Millen has returned to the ESPN airwaves (so much for a suspension) to weigh in regarding the question that was posed prior to the draft by Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland to receiver Dez Bryant.
Millen’s take? “We’re making a big deal out of something that’s probably not that big a deal.”
Millen supported his belief by explaining that, in a pre-draft interview, “there are no questions that are out of bounds” because, on a football field, “there are no questions that are out of bounds.” Millen also said that he believes (as we do) that the goal was to find out how Bryant would handle the situation.
“He will hear this again,” Millen said, referring to Bryant’s upcoming NFL career.
At one point, Millen began to editorialize regarding “this whole politically correct thing,” a curious choice of words given his own recent personal experiences.
At times, SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry seemed to be befuddled by Millen’s position, wondering aloud whether he condones the asking of offensive and inappropriate questions. Millen even admitted that he “could have” asked a question like that during his own career as an NFL executive.
Bottom line? This case exposes to the “real world” a particularly unsavory part of the pro football sausage-making process about which most of us weren’t fully aware. Guys like Millen will shrug their shoulders, but the broader question is whether the time has come to quit making excuses for the bizarre dynamics of the “locker room” and demand a higher level of behavior.