- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2022

A new NFL rule threatens teams with financial penalties and the loss of a draft pick if they ask prospective recruits about personal issues such as their marijuana habits, sexual orientation and whether their mothers have ever been prostitutes.

In a Wednesday letter to the league’s 32 teams that ESPN obtained, the NFL said clubs will forfeit a draft pick between the first and fourth rounds and receive a minimum $150,000 fine if coaches ask “disrespectful, inappropriate or unprofessional” questions during an interview. Team representatives also will face individual fines and suspensions over their conduct with draft prospects.

“All clubs should ensure that prospective draft picks are afforded a respectful and professional NFL environment — one that is consistent with state and federal law and our shared commitment to respect, diversity and inclusion,” the memo states.

The memo adds that the penalties also apply to questioning of free agents.

“It is also important for your club to reinforce to prospective players the value your club places on character and the standards of conduct expected of everyone associated with the NFL,” it says.

The ESPN report noted several occasions since 2010 in which club representatives asked prospective draft picks about their sexual preferences, drug habits and mothers’ prostitution habits during their interview processes.

The league also announced that it will stop requiring recruits to take the Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test, a measure of intelligence that critics have slammed for embarrassing some players for their low scores to no purpose.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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