What You Say? … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

In these ultra-sensitive times one can create headlines when asking someone whether their mother was a prostitute.

Heck, there isn’t any time when asking if Mom was a professional slut wouldn’t cause a reaction; generally it would be a guaranteed knuckle sandwich in the proboscis no matter the year, decade or century.

But the controversy of the week involves Jeff Ireland (left), the GM of the Miami Dolphins.

Right off the top let me tell you that Ireland is a very good man. He spent four years working in the Chiefs personnel department back in the day (1997-2000) scouting the colleges in the southwest and southeast. Ireland helped the team evaluate and draft guys like Dante Hall and Greg Wesley.

Ireland is also the step-son of Chiefs great E.J. Holub, and his maternal grandfather was Jim Parmer, who was the college scouting director for the Chicago Bears for 35 years. He was responsible for drafting many of the players who made up the Bears Super Bowl team of 1985.

It was spending summers with his grandfather that sparked the desire to be a scout in Ireland. He joined the Dallas Cowboys in 2001. When Bill Parcells took over the football operation of the Dolphins in 2008, he named Ireland the team’s general manager.

It was in that role on April 2 that Ireland was sitting in his office talking with WR Dez Bryant. Considered the top rated receiver in the 2010 Draft class, Bryant was an interesting case. He missed most of his senior season because of an NCAA suspension that came when he lied about his involvement with Deion Sanders. On top of that, there were plenty of other red flags in Bryant’s dossier involving his maturity while playing at Oklahoma State. Let’s just say he wasn’t the easy guy to deal with and not the most reliable player in the program.

And then there was his childhood and his mother Angela. She was 15 years old when Bryant was born. His father was in his early 40s. When Dez was eight years old, his mother was sentenced to four years in a Texas prison for distributing crack cocaine. She was a user and abuser of cocaine, marijuana and PCP. There are other stories from her past that rumbled through the NFL as they investigated her son’s background, the type that don’t necessarily turn up in old arrests and court cases.

The Dolphins had the 12th choice of the first round and that was considered by most teams the opening to the window where Bryant would be considered as a possible selection. Miami was interested in trading down, and every slot they dropped would make Bryant more of a possibility for the ‘Fins.

So Bryant visited the team’s complex and in a conversation with Ireland, the GM supposedly asked him if his mother was a prostitute.

Indelicate? Yes.

Rude? Possibly.

Necessary? Debatable.

Part of the business of evaluating players? Absolutely.

“I got mad – really mad – but I didn’t show it,” Bryant told Yahoo.com.

When the story became public, Ireland called Bryant and apologized. He then released this statement through the Dolphins:

“My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I’m considering drafting. Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions. Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him. I appreciate his acceptance of that apology and I told him I wished him well as he embarks on his NFL career.”

I can tell you this about Jeff Ireland – if he asked the question, he felt it was important in doing his job in collecting information on Bryant. He wasn’t doing it to be a jack-ass.

And I can tell you another thing about Ireland – he meant his apology. If he didn’t feel that way, he never would have said so.

That hasn’t kept the media, some players, the NFL, the NFL Players Association and a host of others from tearing apart Ireland’s character.

“I think the individual who asked that question, somebody ought to whack him in the head,” former Bears/Saints head coach Mike Ditka (left) told a Miami radio station. “You don’t ask that question.  If you think you know it, you know.  What are you going to confront a young man with that situation for?  He probably loves his mother no matter what she is or who she is.  Why would somebody do that?  I don’t understand things like that.  Maybe I’m naive or I’m old.  I don’t understand that.  Why?

“What do you get from asking that question?  What’s it all about?  Every bit of information has to be spread out on the table now?  Is that it?  Everybody’s dirty linen has to be out?  I disagree with that.  I’m sorry.”

The last place Ireland ever wants to find his name is in a newspaper headline. That’s never been important to him, so he’s not curried favor with various media types over the year. That increases the bull’s eye on his back. That’s sad because he was only doing his job. Maybe he could have gone after his information in a different manner; but he wasn’t trying to pick a fight or publicly embarrass the young man. Remember, this story didn’t come from Ireland, it came from Bryant.

And there’s nothing that unusual with the question Ireland asked.

“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,” wrote former Dolphins FB Rob Konrad in an e-mail to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  “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.”

Pro football is a high performance business, with a lot on the line financially, especially with high draft choices. NFL teams will continue to deeply investigate and test their potential employees, especially those getting the big money.

But it may be awhile before questions are asked about somebody’s mama.


So maybe the Chiefs aren’t interested in veteran defensive lineman John Henderson.

Supposedly the former member of the Jaguars was speaking on Wednesday with the club. But apparently that did not happen; at least no outlet has received confirmation.

The New York media reports that Henderson will meet sometime soon with the Giants.


  • BEARS – acquired an undisclosed selection in the 2011 NFL Draft from the Rams in a trade for S Kevin Payne.
  • BRONCOS – starting OT Ryan Clady suffered a partial tear of a patellar tendon in his knee playing basketball. Clady reportedly will miss three months after surgery to repair the tendon.
  • BROWNS – claimed DB DeAngelo Smith on waivers (Lions); released DB Matterral Richardson.
  • EAGLES – signed P Ken Parrish.
  • RAMS – acquired S Kevin Payne in trade with the Bears for an undisclosed selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.
  • RAVENS – released FB Charles Ali.
  • REDSKINS – reached agreement with WR Joey Galloway.

32 Responses to “What You Say? … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • April 29, 2010  - Tracy says:

    What was Dez Bryant thinking when he let it be known that he was asked that question? Did Deion make the suggestion that he do so?
    Yes, there is a lot in his background that arouses sympathy but he would be better off if his agent put him in touch with Tony Dungy.

  • April 29, 2010  - Big Chief Tablet says:

    Say what ever you want but the fact that his mother was 15 and his father was in his 40s should answer any questions Mr Ireland had along those lines. If you ask me the fact that Mr Ireland was still standing after asking the question tells you all you need to know about Bryants character.

  • April 29, 2010  - KC_Guy says:

    “The questions asked by teams in pre-draft interviews usually have the dual purpose of getting to know the player and testing their mindset.”

    Guess Bryant will face this question several time throughout his career. I as a GM considering to draft him would like to know how he reacts to this before it happens in public. Obviously Bryant kept his calm at least on the outside. Good. Now he has to accept the fact that the question won’t go away and find a way to deal with it.

  • April 29, 2010  - el cid says:

    There are things you do and things you do not do. There is a line decent people do not cross. The issue of Character, which seems so important to lots of Chiefs fans, can be determined without this type of attack. I can just picture JFK running for the Presidency and being asked how many death was caused by his father when he was a scotch bootlegger? This is football, kids with bad backgrounds are striving to raise themselves using what may be the only talent they have. Apparently the Chiefs are not the only ones with a “let’s get Mother Teresa to play DL” complex.

  • April 29, 2010  - The Morning Fix | Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs blog says:

    [...] What You Say? … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs-BobGretz.com [...]

  • April 29, 2010  - aPauled says:

    “And there’s nothing that unusual with the question Ireland asked.”

    I’m going to call BS on this statement. I think it is unusual and cause for termination. Should Ireland be fired? Depends. At a minimum a suspension should be on the way. If Ireland has a history of this…there is no place in the NFL for him.

  • April 29, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    IMO, he should have asked how he felt about his mothers troubles and getting pregnant when she was 15 with a 40 yr old. how did it affect his life, was he ever angry, how did he handle himself, ect ect. can almost ask the same things and just beat around the bush about it. anyway, Bryant passed the “test”, so if that is waht Ireland was looking for, it worked, but that dont make it right.

  • April 29, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I pretty much agree with el cid. Well said.

    Ireland’s question was out of line…and anyone with any common sense knows that. But, we all make mistakes. We’ve all said something stupid that we regret. Fortunately for most of us, it doesn’t play out in the media. It doesn’t make Ireland a bad person…or mean that his head should be served up on a platter. He said something stupid, he apologized to the person he said it to, and the apology was accepted. That should be the end of it.

    The general media is a freakin’ joke sometimes. No offense, Bob.

  • April 29, 2010  - pachief says:

    I’ll second the BS call. Completely inappropriate question that should be met with some type of punishment from the NFL or the Dolphins. Bob Gretz’s defense of it is also suspect. At first he tries to dismiss it as just more p.c. blah in an overly “sensitive” society. Then, he falls back on tough guy rhetoric (the whole punch in the nose nonsense). And finally, he justifies it by saying it’s a part of the NFL evaluation process. What this underscores is the resentment that certain white people (GMs and journalists) have against black athletes from troubled backgrounds that don’t mirror the troubled backgrounds that they deem to be more acceptable. I’m sure “Big Ben” was never asked similar questions by the Rooney family, and look at what he’s turned into. Or, is it ok to be a lout, as long as you’re just of the white, IC-swilling, kielbassy-slurping, date-raping variety? If Ireland really had such deep concerns about Bryant’s upbringing and character, he should have never brought him in for an interview. After all, what was the point? Just to rub salt in what were probably pretty deep woulds? Absolutely pathetic. Ireland (and his apologists) should be ashamed.

  • April 29, 2010  - Old Man says:

    Should the question have been asked? Probably not necessary… His mother’s troubles have been well documented, as well as his own.

    But where is the “outrage” at Gerhart being asked if he felt entitled because he’s “white”, or the “white supremist” accusations about Tebow?

    Hypocrisy abounds among officials and fans alike, and certain types attempt to smear good young men for no other reason than that they’re good young men.

    If Ireland had asked the question of a white kid, there would be nary a mention of it in the media.

  • April 29, 2010  - jimbo says:

    Ireland must not have been thinking about what he was asking Dez. Irelands abrupt & to the point question might simply be his way of doing business. He put his foot in his mouth bigtime. You can’t judge a mans character by one asinine question.
    I will have to say this. Mr Ireland at least admitted he asked the question & did not deny it, which he could have and ultimately gotten away with it.
    One final thought, was it a good idea for Dez to even disclose that private info to the public?.
    You know, the cliche “what is said in this room, stays in this room”.

  • April 29, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    Wow, I can’t believe you guys. If someone is about to pay me 20 million dollars they can ask me what ever the Hell they want to.

    One thing some of you are right about is that Bryant’s true character was revealed, but it was when he squealed not when he refrained himself from going to jail by doing something stupid. If the guy had rock solid character he would have let it go without drawing attention to himself. I don’t know why Dallas likes these types of guys but just wait, we will hear plenty about Dez and it will be along the lines of TO rather than how much he is doing for the community.

    You guys can dog Ireland all you want but until you are dealing with the pressures of paying millions of dollars to a possibly troubled kid that could be a very positive addition or a very negative addition than you have no business judging him. I would say the same thing to Ditka.

  • April 29, 2010  - gorillafan says:


    to think that he asked that question just because he is black is B.S. GET REAL!!

    He was the most “troubled” player in the draft and the best reciever, getting paid MILLIONS, im not sayinig he should have asked that question at all, but race hs nothing to do with it

  • April 29, 2010  - Danny W says:

    We used to play a game what would you do to get a million dollars.

    You ask grotesque questions like would you eat a dog turd and or make out with your sister or something stupid like that.

    The point being doing some demeaning things to even get 500,000 in change is not out of reach for the majority of people. In perspective, Ireland was wrong and he apologized for it but DEZ BRYANT YOUR REALLY RICH NOW AND YOU HAVEN’T EARNED ONE PENNY OF THAT YET OR ANY ONES RESPECT ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL. FOCUS ON YOUR FUTURE AND PROVING ALL THE SKEPTICS WRONG NOT WHAT SOME ONE INQUIRED ABOUT YOUR TROUBLED MOTHER.

    The NFL and the media need to let this go it is small and petty gossiping. If the worse thing any of us ever did was ask a kid who was about to be paid 20 mill guaranteed by your company if mom used to be a prostitute we would all be up there with Mother Teresa.

  • April 29, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Dear Jon Henderson
    Man we could have really used you Sir. You were our big let off the hook guy for me not drafting a big nose tackle on our unimproved run defense. Now your off to New York or somewhere else and were still wondering who is going to plug up the middle in K.C. I guess we will just hope and pray that Shaun Smith can handle it better than big Ron. Is there a chance we can win you back you big lug.
    Love Always

  • April 29, 2010  - pachief says:


    OK, I’ll try to get real. I didn’t say that question was asked “just because he’s black.” All the same, I can’t help but suspect that Bryant’s swagger, mixed with his mother’s well-publicized troubled past, mixed with his association with Deion Sanders, makes a lot of white people uneasy and more than a few downright resentful. A lot of white folks who consider themselves to be ‘meat and potato,’ ‘blue-collar’ type of people prefer their athletes (black, white, or whatever) to fit a certain profile. I don’t know anything about Dez Bryant as a human being. He may end up being a real problematic player, as some think he will be. Maybe he’ll even be as big an idiot as Matt Jones and Ben Roethlisberger. All the same, Ireland’s question was way out of line. After all, Bryant didn’t inquire about what Ireland had to do to Parcells in order to get his job.

  • April 29, 2010  - el cid says:

    Changed my mind, we need a DE opposite Jackson with a lot more ability to apply pressure than Jackson. We have 3 guys who can space the NT duties between them but Magee does not appear the missing DE answer. Also we need inside LBs, badly. Have to see if Crennel can use what we have but looks pretty thin to me. Still see a need for a WR, unless Bowe decides to change his ways.

  • April 29, 2010  - ernest says:

    A stupid question by a stupid person. Period.

  • April 29, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    No, ernest. A stupid question from someone who knew better. Nothing more.

  • April 29, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    ernest, stupid post, period.

    Answer me this someone please. If the question was such a horrible one, why oh why did Bryant wait until after the draft to squeal? I really would like to know the answer to that one.

  • April 29, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    Probably because he already knew his “stock” was falling. He waited until he had a job to say anything.

  • April 29, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    True Red & Gold, right!!
    Because its all about HIM, and all about MONEY. PERIOD!!

    Ireland is stupid for asking it and Bryant is stupid for drawing attention to himself again and being a punk! poor bryant tho right?? IMO, both guys made a dumbass move!!

  • April 29, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    It is hard to judge a guy when we are not close to the situation at all. For all we know the Tuna is the one who wrote the questions for Bryant and Ireland was doing what he was told.

  • April 29, 2010  - ED says:

    Their isn’t any excuse for Ireland actions. Bottom line he was wrong and anyone including Bob trying to defend this guy I question what type of person you are. And to those of you who say well he just trying to see how he reacts to pressure situation. I think of hundreds of ways to test this guy as far as how he would respond to adverse situation than that. Bob you say you are Ireland’s friend then be a real friend and tell this clown he was out of line. Because that is what real friends do they be honest when their friends makes mistake.

    As for trying to take up for Ireland character Bob. Why isn’t anyone defending Bryant as a person. I keep reading this kid has baggage. But what people aren’t saying is the type of baggage does he have. Let’s rewind a moment. The kid got suspend for lying about working out and going to dinner with Deion Sanders. REally wow!! we call this baggage. He didn’t lie about smoking weed with Deion or selling dope for Deion he lied about hanging out with the guy. Are you serious? Yea it was a violation but a minor compared to the type of things other athletes do.

    I’m not hearing people saying Big Ben had baggage after his motorcycle accident or when his first accusation of sexual assault came up. Its always funny to me how when black players do minor things such as Dez its a huge deal and he’s got baggage, but when white atheletes like Ben have to keep doing stuff over and over again to the point where people have to say something about it. The kid for the most part is a good kid with a tough up bringing. Heck thats majority of most black atheletes. We shouldn’t be defined by the sins of our parents. So what I’m saying is black atheletes shouldn’t be defined by the type of background they grew up in. No more than we should define white atheletes or people because of how racist or things their parents may have did in the past. We should all be judge by case by case basis regardless of the background.

    Point blank aI think Dez is a good kid that just had a tough up bring like most black youth have and shouldn’t be sterotype because of it

  • April 29, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    “Point blank aI think Dez is a good kid that just had a tough up bring like most black youth have and shouldn’t be sterotype because of it”

    Nice contradiction of the point you tried to make, ED. Most black youth have had a tough upbringing, and shouldn’t be sterotyped? You just did exactly that.

  • April 29, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    Ed, what a line of horse &^%$ that was. I especially liked this part “Because that is what real friends do they be honest when their friends makes mistake” A word of advise Ed, don’t try to talk like one of us, you are not very good at it. The next time you feel the need to defend all of us please DON”T

  • April 29, 2010  - alex k says:

    honestly, they get paid a TON of money, they all KNOW that the team finds out EVERYTHING on these guys…I see NOTHING wrong with the question…it would NOT offend me unless it was a walk up to my mother situation etc…but to ask me, with my mother not there, a question about my family and my past for the chance at millions of dollars and to play in the NFL?

    stop crying dez, and shut it!

  • April 29, 2010  - John from Kansas says:

    Bob, I’m glad you spent some time detailing us what a good person Ireland is…we all should know…however I think you and Ireland over did it. I agree with Ditka, even if you think you know, you don’t ask. It’s classless. Really, what does it matter if the answer was yes or no? If you are a GM and you think drafting Bryant is a risk, move on to the next guy. Don’t do a classless act. I’m disappointed Bob that you would even entertain the idea the question was remotely understandable. I hope Bryant can back up his classiness he showed in his interview with an honorable NFL career. Personally I would have decked Ireland.

    I don’t wish any more done with Ireland either (maybe a self imposed two weeks off with out pay to clear his head or better yet devote two weeks time to a local crack addiction recovery hospital) but defending his question even in the slightest disgusts me.

  • April 30, 2010  - ernest says:

    Anonymous, if he knew better and asked the question anyway, that makes him a stupid person, asking stupid questions. And to True RED& Gold. Just because someone do not go crying immediately after something stupid is said, do not lessen the effect of what is said. Nothing was going to be gained by answering yes or no to the question. It should never been asked.

  • April 30, 2010  - Big John says:

    Well I guess I’ll eat crow (My apologies Mr. Bob and Mr. Ireland).

    As reported on this web site (Jim Trotter “Inside the NFL”:

    https://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jim_trotter/04/30/dez.bryant.jeff.ireland/index.html?eref=sihp the context of the questioning

    The following exchange allegedly ensued:

    “My dad was a pimp.”

    “What did your mom do [for a living]?”

    “She worked for my dad.”

    “Your mom was a prostitute?”

    “No, she wasn’t a prostitute.”

    I have a different impression of the story today….

  • April 30, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    Okay ernest, you win. If an otherwise intelligent person says something they shouldn’t have one time, then they’re stupid for life. I get it now.

  • April 30, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Wow, so Bryant is a Diva, he concocted a story to Yahoo so that HIS name would be all over the media, sure glad the chiefs didn’t whiff on this guy… But Im sure in KC, he would have been able to use his pimp hand better then LJ had… LOL..

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