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New NFL policy requires prospects to authorize background checks

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Before the NFL can determine whether draft prospects should be barred from the Scouting Combine or other league-related draft events for certain criminal offenses, the NFL must be able to make that determination. Before the NFL can make that determination, the NFL must be able to investigate the prospect.

Before that can happen, the prospect must provide authorization to the NFL during the Scouting Combine registration process. If the prospect refuses to provide authorization, the prospect’s invitation to participate in the Scouting Combine will be revoked, according to the memo sent on January 25 to all team presidents, General Managers and coaches.

As a practical matter, players will gladly sign whatever paperwork they need to sign in order to participate in the Scouting Combine. Still, the mandatory background check represents yet another thing that is required of players as part of a lengthy preemployment process that, via the Combine, provides plenty of free entertainment and TV content for the NFL.

The new policy applies to all felony or misdemeanor convictions, and it broadly encompasses any conviction “involving violence,” with specific citation to crimes involving the “use of a weapon, domestic violence, sexual offense and/or sexual assault.”

As noted earlier, the NFLPA had no comment on the new policy, which the league implemented unilaterally.

The policy has no impact on the ability of teams to independently evaluate or draft the players who are barred from league-related draft events, either due to the outcome of the background check or the refusal to consent to one.

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42 Responses to “New NFL policy requires prospects to authorize background checks”
  1. rtookey says: Feb 9, 2016 5:42 PM

    And what exactly will be the judgement system of allowing players with prior’s try out??? This is a great idea, im sure the league, especially Goodell, will do a GRET job screening this.

  2. orivar says: Feb 9, 2016 5:49 PM

    Cuban is looking right.

  3. deneb1973 says: Feb 9, 2016 5:51 PM

    I wonder what the NLRB and DOJ think of the requirement that applicants waive federally and state protected privacy rights … or if the NFL even thought about the lawsuits that it might just have caused.

  4. cajunaise says: Feb 9, 2016 5:51 PM

    Can we PLEASE have fan background checks?

  5. trina16 says: Feb 9, 2016 5:55 PM

    This is for the guys that are about to enter the NFL, but what about the ones already IN the NFL? Are they also implementing harsher punishments for NFL felons?

  6. charliecharger says: Feb 9, 2016 5:55 PM

    Everybody already knows who the bad guys are. Some teams just don’t care. There should be heavy fines against the owners that choose players who get in trouble. Maybe even take away picks. Then they won’t ignore the character issue so much.

  7. catquick says: Feb 9, 2016 5:56 PM

    These guys are still football players, right? It’s not an executive position they’re applying for. Character damage to the leagues image? I think that boat sank years ago.

  8. Emmanuel Goldstein says: Feb 9, 2016 5:56 PM

    This PR stunt by the League has no impact on incoming players other than having one more form to sign. They’ll all sign the form. And if they don’t then they’ll be barred from league-related draft events. They will still get drafted. It has no impact on whether players with priors get drafted. It just means they can’t get gussied up and parade around in front of cameras as part of the NFL’s made for TV draft garbage.

    Players with felonies and misdemeanors already have places on NFL teams’ draft boards. Because of the criminal behavior they may slip to lower rounds. Some teams may even pass on them altogether. But a talented player with a troubled past is still going to be drafted. And until the NFL makes a rule that states “no felons allowed”, then PR stunts like this are going to only amount to a hill of beans.

  9. sunset145 says: Feb 9, 2016 5:57 PM

    If criminals weren’t allowed in the NFL, teams would not be able to fill a 53-man roster!

  10. beavertonsteve says: Feb 9, 2016 5:57 PM

    We’ll have DNA testing for NFL prospects by 2025

  11. thedingo8 says: Feb 9, 2016 5:57 PM

    bottom line..they dont have to accept the invitation to the combine..no violation of rights involved

  12. beavertonsteve says: Feb 9, 2016 6:00 PM

    I wonder what the NLRB and DOJ think of the requirement that applicants waive federally and state protected privacy rights … or if the NFL even thought about the lawsuits that it might just have caused.
    —————–
    Other jobs require you to submit to similar background checks. I’ve had a job applicant hung up in the hiring process for months because their name matched some career criminal who grew up in the same town as them.

  13. clickablecontent says: Feb 9, 2016 6:00 PM

    I’m actually surprised this hasn’t already been implemented. This is standard procedure these days in the corporate world. I’m willing to bet candidates have to do this when applying for NFL office jobs.

  14. autoriot says: Feb 9, 2016 6:06 PM

    Holy crap! How was this not part of the process up to this point?

  15. hyprcaffeinated says: Feb 9, 2016 6:15 PM

    This will be of great help to Jerry Jones. He will know exactly who to draft based on who fails the background check and why.

  16. conormacleod says: Feb 9, 2016 6:15 PM

    deneb1973
    Feb 9, 2016, 4:51 PM CST
    I wonder what the NLRB and DOJ think of the requirement that applicants waive federally and state protected privacy rights … or if the NFL even thought about the lawsuits that it might just have caused.
    ——
    You have no idea of what you speak. You probably think Freedom of Speech also means you can’t be fired for speaking your mind.

  17. haslamdrinkshisownpee says: Feb 9, 2016 6:16 PM

    How about a background check for guys trying to buy a team? I seriously hate goodell. I’ll refer you to my screen name to see if I like the owner of the team I root for.

  18. 8oneanddones says: Feb 9, 2016 6:20 PM

    I agree that this is a PR move by Goodell. Any player who can produce on the field (and is not currently in jail) will find a job no matter what their criminal record is.

  19. weepingjebus says: Feb 9, 2016 6:23 PM

    Future generations will know this as the Manziel Rule.

  20. yooperman says: Feb 9, 2016 6:26 PM

    Once they pass the background check, then in most states they can get a carrying permit. That way they can carry a gun without getting in trouble just for having it.

  21. blynch67 says: Feb 9, 2016 6:29 PM

    Well, the background check policy should thin out the herd at the scouting combines, lol.

  22. djvh2 says: Feb 9, 2016 6:42 PM

    “Future generations will know this as the Manziel Rule.”

    Manziel would have passed this.

    Also, what about that OL Dallas drafted, Collins? He was accused of something but it wouldn’t have shown up on a background test because it was so recent.

  23. igwaybwekay says: Feb 9, 2016 6:44 PM

    Boo hoo. You have to get a background check before you’re eligible to become a millionaire. Any one of us would gladly do it for an NFL salary. So what?

  24. daysend564 says: Feb 9, 2016 6:55 PM

    They need a background check on their halftime performers.

  25. realtruthteller100 says: Feb 9, 2016 6:56 PM

    its to bad they didnt have this before $cam newton got drafted!!

  26. packmanfan says: Feb 9, 2016 6:57 PM

    It’s a funny world, isn’t it?
    To make sure that someone can hit another guy hard enough that will send him to the hospital, they gotta make sure that the same guy didn’t hit someone else hard enough to send him to the hospital.

  27. packmanfan says: Feb 9, 2016 6:58 PM

    Will they handle this the same way they did for Ray Rice?
    Someone could have a rap sheet a mile long and they will let him play just as long as there are no videos of any of his wrongdoing.

  28. packmanfan says: Feb 9, 2016 7:00 PM

    Now the NFL is doing this????

    Geez. What took them so long?

    Welcome to the modern world where background checks are the norm in other jobs, NFL.

  29. daysend564 says: Feb 9, 2016 7:04 PM

    packmanfan says:

    Geez. What took them so long?
    —————————————–
    SJW weren’t out in full effect until recently.

  30. bigredgoog says: Feb 9, 2016 8:04 PM

    Purpose of this rule? They are not barring such individuals from being able to be drafted and signed, just not able to participate in events to showcase their talents.

    Will it change the way college players conduct themselves? Possibly. If so, not a bad result. Certainly will change plea bargains to be sure whatever is agreed to won’t trigger the ban.

    Initially I didn’t like the idea but it is growing on me. Still, I don’t like black and white rules that lock in consequences without the ability to waive it under certain extenuating circumstances.

    Didn’t some team give a wrongly convicted college player a shot after the accuser admitted years later of making the story up?

    In Texas you can defend your property with deadly force in New York you’ll be convicted of a gun crime for the same exact circumstance. The NFL would treat the same action differently because of local laws.

  31. horses721 says: Feb 9, 2016 8:26 PM

    Maybe they should do what Teflon Peyton Manning does. Hire your own people “to investigate things”. Yes Peyton Manning, “the common man” so many fans identify with for some reason. Worth over $250 million but still needs to plug his Budweiser and Papa John’s business interests after winning a Super Bowl that the defense won for him. I guess Peyton needs the money rather than celebrate the victory with his teammates (Priorities??) The guy is such a fraud and for some reason, America celebrates the most pampered player in the NFL. Please don’t pick on Peyton please says Roger Goodell!

  32. jackbassett says: Feb 9, 2016 8:27 PM

    deneb1973 says:
    Feb 9, 2016 5:51 PM

    I wonder what the NLRB and DOJ think of the requirement that applicants waive federally and state protected privacy rights … or if the NFL even thought about the lawsuits that it might just have caused.

    —————–
    Dear Arnie Becker: Before I decide to give your post a thumbs up or thumbs down, could you please cite the law, rule or regulation the NFL is violating? Alternatively, could you also outline the legal basis for the lawsuit?

  33. dencar2014 says: Feb 9, 2016 8:36 PM

    If you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing plain and simple.
    Good move by League; should have been put in place years ago!!!

  34. maximusprime107 says: Feb 9, 2016 9:20 PM

    How in the world was this not already part of the process?!?? You have to submit to a background check for ANY job worth a damn

  35. rcali says: Feb 9, 2016 9:43 PM

    Uh oh, Florida State players.

  36. reprob8 says: Feb 9, 2016 10:19 PM

    Do all other league office & team employees have to submit to a background check?

    I’d LOVE to see Irsay’s!

  37. captainloaded says: Feb 9, 2016 10:25 PM

    I had a background check at the job I’m doing. If you want to work and the employer mandates it, it is your choice to refuse and not be a part of it. This is a league sponsored event. You can choose to participate or not, you do not set the rules and standards. Also, as it states, teams can individually evaluate players. The combine is an option, given that you are not legally employed by the league. It is an evaluation.

  38. daaabears says: Feb 9, 2016 11:49 PM

    I’d love to see the record of the guys that thought this up.

  39. Rolo Tomassi says: Feb 10, 2016 7:42 AM

    Seem reasonable to me.
    Construction workers have to be drug tested and background checked nowadays why not a football player who you could paying a fortune too

  40. solo681 says: Feb 10, 2016 8:38 AM

    Too bad the NFL didn’t do a proper background check on Goodel.

    His Resume:
    1.) FRAUD
    2.) LIAR
    3.) THIEF
    4.) POLITICIAN
    5.) CORRUPT

  41. jerseyshoregiant says: Feb 10, 2016 10:27 AM

    deneb1973 says:
    Feb 9, 2016 5:51 PM

    I wonder what the NLRB and DOJ think of the requirement that applicants waive federally and state protected privacy rights … or if the NFL even thought about the lawsuits that it might just have caused.

    ———————————-
    Deneb, every company I have worked for required a background check. Nothing illegal about it.

  42. nflpoker says: Feb 10, 2016 11:47 AM

    I have seen copies of my background checks when I have applied for jobs. It looked like a big blank piece of paper. It hardly showed anything at all other than my name, address, and SSN. But, if I had committed any crimes, it would jump out at you. Mine said “nothing found”, as it should have.

    The NFL is correct in doing this. It will help in raising red flags on those who have less than perfect qualities.

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