Teams Get Creative In Quest For The Truth

The pre-draft process is, in many respects, a charade.  The high-end prospects become schooled in what to say and what not to say, and the real man lurks somewhere behind a carefully-crafted facade.
The high-priced consultants now have new fodder for their clients — beware of Facebook and MySpace.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, some teams actually are using counterfeit accounts on the popular social-networking sites to help smoke out the truth about the players in whom sizable financial investments might be made.
“It works like magic,” one source told Robinson of the practice of creating “ghost profiles,” which disappear after the draft.
“Twenty years ago, if you weren’t getting a lot from a [college team’s] coaching staff or a family, you might put weeks into gathering good information on a couple guys,” the source told Robinson. “Now, we can do a lot of it in a few days.  We can sit down with 20 guys that we might be looking at, and have a pile of pictures and background things to hit them with.  And every once in a while you come across something that probably saves you from making a big mistake.  Not as much as you might think, but if it happens every couple years, it keeps you ahead of the game.”
Apart from the creation of phony accounts, NFL teams (like most employers) look to a potential employee’s Facebook and MySpace pages for evidence of troubling traits or behaviors.
Vikings V.P. of player personnel Rick Spielman shared a story from a couple of years ago regarding the MySpace page of a player Spielman declined to name.
“He had a big picture of a bunch of drug money and drugs on a carpet,” Spielman said.  “It was the kind of thing that, you know, it was under his name.  So when we had some time with him, of course we were like ‘What is this all about?’ . . .  It was an interesting conversation.  He had a legitimate explanation for what happened and we followed up on it and we believe it was what he said it was.  But that’s one of the things that happens [with networking profiles].”
Defensive tackle Walter Thomas raised eyebeows two years ago with his MySpace page, to which the following comment was added, apparently by one of his friends, after Thomas signed a free-agent deal with the Saints:  “Well its a good thing I got you to sign a whole bunch of sh-t so I can say ‘yea, I used to get high with him and eat 5 cheeseburgers every wednesday!'”
Thomas later apologized for the content of the profile — and the apology still appears on the profile today.  (Then again, he last logged in to the profile on July 17, 2007.)
Bottom line?  It’s virtually impossible to completely conceal the entire truth about a potential draft pick.  So if any team takes a turd without knowing about the turd’s turdishness in advance, it’s the team’s own fault.

24 responses to “Teams Get Creative In Quest For The Truth

  1. I have been telling the Pea Tear Griffin on Facebook he is a fraud.
    The only real Pea Tear Griffin is right here on the PFT Planet.

  2. See i never understood this…..Like why would anyone openly snitch on themselves on their own Myspace/Facebook/Twitter page with incriminating pics? If your dumb enough to put up a pic of yourself smokin some Piff then you don’t deserve to be paid millions to play ball.

  3. Actually, many businesses and corporations have been checking out the Facebook and Myspace pages of potential employees for several years.
    About a year ago, there was big feature story on this very topic in a major newspaper (I forget which one.) Anyway, the reporter asked a number of future and soon-to-be college graduates if they knew their future employers might be checking out their pages.
    Needless to say, many of the college students were a bit unnerved by the prospect of their juvenile online world being invaded by responsible adults. (You know, the adults who will be signing their paychecks.)
    Better late than never, some of the students realized that publicly portraying oneself as a thug, dopehead, or slut is not a particularly effective way of securing gainful employment.

  4. Agreed. This is something teams have been doing for a few years and now you spill the beans. Now the agents who are talking to freshmen and sophomores, illegally of course, are going to warn them and we will see a sudden clean up in pages of underclassmen.

  5. Very common at company during the hiring process. This not a creative tactic, it is quite normal nowadays.

  6. The player he is talking about with the pics of money is Brandon Flowers from Virginia Tech, I believe. I remember when he was part of a situation where he even had to explain himself to the media.

  7. “Vikings V.P. of player personnel Rick Spielman shared a story from a couple of years ago regarding the MySpace page of a player Spielman declined to name.”
    Was it Fred Smoot?

  8. As a Dolfan, I know for a fact that Rick Spielman could be given a magically genie to answer all the question he could possibly ask… and still fail miserably at the draft.
    He is the Nostradumbass of drafting NFL talent.

  9. I never understood Facebook or Myspace. Never been there or had the desire to go there. Why would I give a crap about a bunch of strangers? Through my job, I know hundreds if not thousands of people, maybe that why I don’t care.

  10. I want that job!! Seriously, I’ll create fake MySpace and facebook pages of hot chicks, send these dumb@sses add requests, then find out all their biz!
    I’m going to send my resume to all 32 NFL teams now. Hope they don’t go to my MySpace page (linked to my name above).

  11. TCLARK said:
    ” I never understood Facebook or Myspace. Never been there or had the desire to go there. Why would I give a crap about a bunch of strangers? Through my job, I know hundreds if not thousands of people, maybe that why I don’t care. ”
    It’s not about a bunch of strangers, it’s about connecting with the people you do know. I use Facebook, and people can share pictures, videos, thoughts and ideas, and other information with their friends. It’s actually really neat, you should try it.
    @Dolfan565:
    “Dolfan” is possibly the gayest thing I’ve ever heard, but I give you a 4/5 for “Nostradumbass”.

  12. Umm this is really dumb. If you are looking for a job just make your profile/pictures only viewable by friends and take yourself out of the people search. Players agents should know to tell the players that.

  13. It was definitely Brandon Flowers and it was definitely last year. There’s just something about those Va Tech boys from the Chesapeake area that screams “BEWARE!”

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