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Myles Jack: Should The NFL Punish GM’s Who Spread False Rumors?

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NFL general managers have often spread false information through the media and have caused other things to happen. It’s part of the offseason game. Just like holding, horse collaring, and pass interference.

Only those have penalty yardage attached to them. The question today: Is there a limit? Is there a line that once crossed should not be part of the game but a rule that when broken, carries significant penalties?

The reason this came to mind is because or a Rotoworld report concerning UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.

“The Philadelphia Daily News’ Les Bowen was told by an NFL source UCLA LB Myles Jack’s knee is “a time bomb.”

Jack is unique talent who has a question mark on him because he tore his ACL early in the collegiate season. Torn ACLs can be recovered from and then no longer an issue. Ask Tom Brady. Then they can become as strong as a plastic switch on a toy made in China; just waiting to break again. Ask Thomas Davis.

So NFL teams should not draft a player, even one as talented as Jack, if all that talent is going to be constantly in rehab.

Rotoworld’s writers however gave their own opinion (which is always worth a read) below.

“Jack’s medical recheck did not go well, with CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler reporting several teams had ‘long-term question marks.’ This is lying season, however, and it is possible teams are leaking bad information about Jack’s knee in order to push him down the draft board. A top-five talent, it is anyone’s guess where Jack ends up, but it would still be a shock if he slipped out of the top 15.”

Granted, there is no proof that teams are actually lying about Myles Jack in order to get him to fall, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Teams have historically done many things to manipulate the system to their favor.

Back in the 1970s, Alabama A&M had a single tape of John Stallworth playing wide receiver for their team. They gave it to the Steelers and told them after they were done to give it back so that other teams could properly scout Stallworth. The Steelers will deny it, but Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Ed Bouchette will swear that they kept that tape and delayed giving it back on purpose so that no other team could scout the future Hall of Fame receiver that the Steelers grabbed in the fourth round.

Another example was Dan Marino, where the rumors of him doing drugs led him to fall from a top 10 pick to 27th where the Dolphins grabbed him. Now, there wasn’t any proof that Miami had anything to do with the rumors, but Vic Carucci said that the feeling was that someone was putting that stuff out there to discourage teams from taking Marino. Since Miami was one of two teams left in the first round, there’s definitely a reason to believe that Miami was behind the rumors.

Now, of course, there’s no hard proof against these teams and it’d be hard to find it, but there should be rules in place against this type of player sabotage. While a team is deceived into passing over a player, the player loses money.

According to Spotrac.com, the 2015 5th overall pick Brandon Scherff signed a 4-year $21.2 million contract with the Redskins. Whereas the 15th overall pick of the same draft, Melvin Gordon, signed a 4-year $10.669 deal. That’s roughly half of what Scherff signed.

In this upcoming draft, say this rumor about Jack’s knee is not only untrue, but a plant to get him to fall.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars pass on Jack and he fell to the Tennessee Titans at 15 due to chicanery by head coach Mike Mularkey and/or general manager Jon Robinson, they would essentially be costing Jack roughly $10 million. If that’s not wrong legally, it’s wrong definitely ethically.

As far as I know, there are no rules against this type of action. It can easily be considered as a form of tampering, but the Anti-Tampering Policy when it comes to college players is written as:

“No club, nor any person employed by or otherwise affiliated with a club or the League (including a player), is permitted to tamper with college players who are ineligible for selection or participation in the League. Direct or indirect attempts to induce underclassmen to petition the League for special eligibility or to declare to the League their desire to enter the League under the early-graduation rule are prohibited. Club personnel who make public comments about the football ability or NFL potential of underclassmen who have not yet been officially declared eligible for the draft will be subject to discipline by the Commissioner.”

That’s all well and good, but Myles Jack IS ELIGIBLE and thus doesn’t fit under the current policy.

Now, the NFL could have rules against this under a lesser known policy (it’s actually harder to find all the hidden nuances in this game to be perfectly honest), but I haven’t seen them and after a look through the rulebook provided online shows rules of the game, but not draft protocol on the general managers.

So let’s assume that this type of behavior is legal. Then it needs to be stopped.

These “lies” could and definitely have hurt players draft positions and cost them significant amounts of money. Look what happened to La’el Collins, who went from top 10-20 prospect to undrafted due to being a “person of interest” in a homicide investigation. He wasn’t even a suspect and has since been cleared of any suspicion, but the very idea that he could be connected cost him a chance to hear his name announced at the podium and worse; millions upon millions of dollars since undrafted players can only sign 3-year deals worth a few hundred thousand.

The NFLPA is probably the only group that would care. Fans already thing players are overpaid and owners aren’t going to care particularly when these “lies” can potentially favor them. But it is still wrong and it should be made illegal for a general manager or a scout to use a person like Adam Schefter as a way to fracture a player’s value and ruin financial prosperity.

Of course, if Jack’s knee is bad, then it’s not an untrue rumor, but because it hasn’t been corroborated, it can be just that. Even if the rumor is true, the rules still need to be adopted so that untrue future rumors can be potentially punished and players aren’t victim to the tricks and games of general managers.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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