The National Football League (NFL) decided to take a much tougher stance against criminally convicted players. As of 2016, the NFL will not allow players with convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault or weapons offenses to attend the scouting combine in Indianapolis, IN.
The scouting combine is hugely important for a new player. Here, hopeful NFL players endure mental and physical tests with measurements of size, speed, and strength down to millimeters for assessments by NFL scouts, coaches and general managers. Held in February of each year, the combine measures and compares the abilities of approximately 300 players intent on playing in the NFL.
Though most players come from college football programs, some exceptionally gifted hopefuls come from other walks of life, as well. The uniform fact of the combine is that players are allowed in only by invitation.
In former years, scouts turned a blind eye to players’ convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault or weapons offenses. However, in early 2016, the NFL’s executive vice president issued a memo stating that a background check revealing a felony or misdemeanor conviction for the listed charges would result in the subject player’s ban from “any league-related event.” Furthermore, any player refusing to submit to a background check is also uninvited.
The new policy is expected to affect very few of the 300 players annually invited to the combine. However, according to NFL vice president Troy Vincent, “It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters.”
Prospective NFL players banned from the combine will not be invited to the NFL draft, either. However, all is not lost for prospective players convicted of domestic violence, sexual assault or weapons offenses. Banned players may still attend other private workouts, regional combines and pro days.
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