Before the draft, reports emerged that one of the best prospects in the pool, Tony Washington, had been convicted at age 16 of having sex with his biological sister. He spent two weeks in jail and, more importantly, is a registered sex offender.
Coincidentally (or not), the Abilene Christian tackle has been regarded as radioactive by the NFL, despite being viewed as a Day Two prospect.
But Washington wasn’t drafted at all. Since Saturday, he hasn’t even received an offer to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
“I’m in complete shock,” agent Vann McElroy told Darren Rovell of CNBC. “I feel so bad for this kid. This
is something that happened seven years ago and, probably because of the
[Ben] Roethlisberger situation, he hasn’t been called.”
Frankly, we think the situation has a greater connection to the Dez Bryant situation. It’s widely believed in league circles that Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute because Bryant inevitably will face similar (and worse) comments on the field and in the locker room.
Multiply that dynamic by 1,000 as to Tony Washington.
Then there’s the reality that teams simply don’t want to employ a guy who had sex with his sister. “Disgusting” was the word from one team before the draft. So while football talent ordinarily knows no discrimination, football coaches apparently have yet to embrace the notion of looking the other way when it comes to registered sex offenders.
Whether or not it’s fair doesn’t matter. Regardless of the specific reason for their aversion, Washington’s past conduct lands in territory into which no NFL team is willing to throw a lifeline.
“We spent hours of our time, providing letters, testimonials from people
to tell this kid’s story,” McElroy told Rovell. “It isn’t like he’s some
pervert hanging around in the bushes. He’s a good kid who screwed up,
who since then was accepted by the board and admitted to one of the most
conservative colleges out there. . . . Someone should give this kid a chance.”
Eventually, someone will. If a grown man who was a convicted dogfighter and admitted dog killer deserves a second chance, a kid who did something really stupid does, too.