NFL Owners Meeting Borders Bizarre As Report Emerges of Whacky Comments & Alleged Comparison Of Combine To Slave Auction

NFL: Pro Bowl-Press Conference
January 20, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent speaks during the Pro Bowl Kickoff Press Conference at The Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Following the NFL league meeting on Wednesday, multiple NFL owners reportedly took offense after former player and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent allegedly compared the NFL Scouting Combine to having characteristics of a slave auction, according to CBS Sports reporter Jonathan Jones.

The meeting on Wednesday, which was reportedly led by Vincent, was focused on the upcoming changes for the league, including implementing a less tedious medical evaluation process and examining the questions teams ask players during recruitment.

Jones reported that Vincent allegedly made reference to a slave auction. The report claims that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was the first to speak up and state that he was offended by the comment. Blank reportedly has a strong record of diversity and inclusion as the Owner of the Falcons.

The NFL combine provides an opportunity for NFL teams to talk to prospective players, many who are at the collegiate level, test their skills and get their medical assessments.

“The biggest thing that the players have raised over time is, ‘I come in, I’m fired up for this, and I have to go and get an additional medical test. And I’m sitting in a hospital waiting for four or five hours on an MRI machine. I have to have multiple meetings about the same type of injury,'” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday. “For us, it’s really about trying to improve that experience. And they talk about lack of sleep because they get in at 1 o’clock in the morning and then have to be back at 5, and then they have to perform on the field. And it’s an important element for them because they want to perform at the highest level.”

Multiple owners including Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, and Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula also shared their opinions about the combine. Jones reportedly talked about the privilege of playing in the NFL and the opportunity performing at the combine provides. Rooney talked about how important it is for owners to get players’ medical information at the combine. Jonathan Jones reports that Pegula allegedly made incoherent comments about the somewhat revealing outfits his daughter and her teammates on the tennis team must wear, and confused many, according to the CBS Sports report.

The combine is known for uncomfortable moments in the past where prospective players have been asked inapporpriate questions such as when Dez Bryant was asked by a Dolphins executive whether his mother was a prostitute or when Cornerback Eli Apple was asked in 2016 if he liked men.

Vincent reportedly explained that he heard from a former Black player that the player was asked to rap by a team which is something that he didn’t feel would have ever been asked of a white player.

“When we talk to [players] during their draft experience,” Vincent said, “we ask the question: Is there anything that we should be doing from your first interaction with the National Football League? And those men are open and sometimes they share things with you, and you scratch your head. Often times you’re embarrassed. And you can say these are things that we can fix, these are things we can adjust to make that whole prospect experience better.”

The league will reportedly be making several changes for next year’s combine, after speaking with players and their reps about what practices can be improved moving forward. Vincent has described himself as a “bridge builder” from within the front office.

Before becoming a league executive, Vincent spent 15 seasons in the NFL . He is in the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame and on the Eagles 75th-anniversary team. Vincent was the president of the Players Association from 2004-2008. Vincent has been the NFL’s head of football operations since 2014.

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