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Former RB Rob Konrad defends Jeff Ireland

The following is an e-mail former Dolphins running back Rob Konrad sent The Miami Herald and other media outlets concerning Jeff Ireland following the incident in which the general manager admittedly asked Dez Bryant whether his mother is a prostitute and then apologized publicly to Bryant for the question:

"Use any adjective you’d like to describe Jeff Ireland, but those in the media claiming he’s “without class” are simply misinformed. Jeff’s a regular guy, whose attention to detail and no-nonsense approach has defined his success in the industry. More than any member of the Dolphins front office in recent history, Jeff and his family have been regularly engaged with the Miami Dolphins Foundation and community outreach programs.

"Jeff is one of the true good guys in the industry. To see his name being tarnished in the media as the result of (a) single question during a team interview seems to me entirely unjust. It’s important to keep in mind the context of these interviews -- the prospect of guaranteeing a 22-year-old stranger millions of dollars to enter one of the most competitive, intolerant and insensitive professional work environments around.

"I’m not attempting to defend the question asked, but rather the person and the process. Having been through those interviews, in the locker room, and on the field, I can tell you that the work environment in the NFL is unique, one that would be unacceptable in virtually any other industry. The questions asked by teams in pre-draft interviews usually have the dual purpose of getting to know the player and testing their mindset.

"By way of example, one of the common questions asked by teams is as follows: "If you had the choice of being reborn as a cat or a dog, which would you choose and why?" There is no correct answer, there may be preferable responses depending on your position, but the question is meant to generate a response from the player which can be analyzed in any number of ways.

"When I was coming out of Syracuse University, I remember being asked 'if I thought I could succeed as a white running back in the NFL?' and 'why I thought a kid who attended a suburban Massachusetts private high school was tough enough to play in the NFL?'  If one (sic) we’re interviewing a prospective executive for private industry, this line of questioning likely wouldn’t be acceptable.

"The 'all-ball' and 'no-nonsense' approach incorporated by the current regime at the Dolphins has been consistent since they arrived. I believe this philosophy has resonated throughout the organization and is one of the main factors for the team's return to playing winning fundamental football. Jeff may be demanding and thorough, and maybe a question was asked in poor judgment, but he’s one of the good guys in the NFL, he’s been a great asset to the Dolphins and a good friend to South Florida."

--Robert Konrad 

 

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