After the Wonderlic score generated by former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was leaked by one or more of the 32 teams that exclusively had access to it, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dispatched a memo reminding the various franchises that this shouldn’t occur.
“As we near our annual college player draft, please be reminded that certain information obtained during preparations for the Draft, including personal and family details, results of drug tests, scores on the Wonderlic test, and the like, are strictly confidential for club use only and are not to be disseminated publicly under any circumstances,” Goodell said. “Disclosing this confidential information about draft-eligible players to the public can be extremely damaging to players, clubs, and the league.”
And so, exactly one week after Goodell reminded the teams not to talk about the things learned while preparing for the draft, three different teams disclosed to a reporter that cornerback Janoris Jenkins admitted during pre-draft interviews that he continued to smoke marijuana after leaving Florida and enrolling at North Alabama.
Making the situation even more intriguing is the fact that the disclosure was made to a reporter employed by the league.
In this regard, Albert Breer of NFL Network was simply doing his job. Like the Wonderlic score, what a guy says during pre-draft interviews is regarded by the NFL as confidential. Five years ago, for example, when a report surfaced that Calvin Johnson, Amobi Okoye, and the late Gaines Adams had admitted in a pre-draft interview to smoking marijuana, Chris Mortensen of ESPN publicly wagged a finger at those who leaked the info. “If I were NFL commissioner,” Mort wrote at the time, “I’d be mad about this entire process and the leak, and I’d be as mad as I was about Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones and Chris Henry embarrassing the NFL with their off-field escapades.”
The latest breach of confidentiality likely won’t result in the same outcry because Jenkins is viewed as being far less sympathetic than Johnson, Okoye, and Adams five years ago and Claiborne one week ago. But regardless of whether the player in question is viewed as a good guy or a bad guy, the NFL is (or at least should be) concerned about every breach of pre-draft confidentiality. The fact that nearly 10 percent of the league’s teams gave confidential information to a reporter working for the league-owned network less than a week after the Commissioner reminded all teams to tighten things up arguably constitutes open defiance of the man who is running the sport.
Either way, it could be time for a new memo. The first one apparently didn’t take.